Al-Mosuliya TV presenter al-Jawady was kidnapped by Islamic State militants on June 29, 2014, colleagues told CPJ. She was one of the first journalists taken by the militant group when it seized Mosul, one of her colleagues said.
Al-Jawady was a presenter on the U.S.-funded TV channel al-Mosuliya TV until June 10, 2014, when Islamic State forced the outlet to close. She was held in a women’s prison the militants had taken over in the city and was tortured, according to news reports that cited Iraqi monitoring group Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. The reports did not provide further details of how she had been tortured.
A former producer at Al-Mosuliya TV, who lives in exile in Irbil and who has not been named out of concerns for his safety, told CPJ that even though the channel’s U.S. funding ceased in 2009, a perception that its staff were agents of America stuck. The producer said that when Islamic State seized Mosul, militants smashed the channel’s technical equipment and seized some of its staff.
A presenter for al-Mosuliya TV, who has not been named out of security concerns, told CPJ, “They came to her house and kidnapped her. She was the first journalist from our channel who I remember being taken.” The presenter, who spoke with CPJ in the Iraqi city of Irbil, added, “She was the public face of the channel, everyone knew her so they went for her first.”
The Iraqi Observatory for Journalistic Freedoms told CPJ in an emailed statement that it was told by unnamed contacts in Mosul that al-Jawady was killed on July 4, 2014, after being accused by the militants of “working against [Islamic State] interests and carrying out media activities that necessitated her arrest.”
Several months after al-Jawady was kidnapped, militants told her family she had been killed, the al-Mosuliya TV colleague said. An editor at al-Mosuliya TV, who also spoke with CPJ and who asked to remain anonymous out of concerns for his safety, said Islamic State took the unusual step of telling the family in November 2014 that al-Jawady had been killed.
No body was returned to the family.
The Nineveh Reporters Network, the Nineveh Media Foundation, and the Society for the Defense of Press Freedom in Iraq, whose head, Mustafa Nasser, told CPJ he had spoken directly to the family about al-Jawady’s death, all reported that the journalist had been killed.
Al-Jawady had unsuccessfully stood as a candidate in the Iraq Council of Representatives in April 2014, a news report said. The report speculated that her political work made her target. The al-Mosuliya TV editor with whom CPJ spoke acknowledged that this could have been a factor, but said that a perception that the channel was pro-American in its reporting made its staff vulnerable to Islamic State attack.