Mohammad Hilal Karji

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Karji, a correspondent for the Jordan-based satellite channel Baghdad TV, and his cousin were traveling to Baghdad for work when they were stopped at an Iraqi Army checkpoint in the town of Yusufiya, about 12 miles south of Baghdad, according to a source at the station who requested anonymity. The two were handed over to armed men who claimed to be security officers and who were in a car stationed by the checkpoint, the source said.

Karji and his cousin tried to escape, but only the cousin was able to flee, the source said.

The gunmen were suspected members of the Mahdi Army, a militia led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, according to the source at the station. The source said that Karji was shot in the head and that the body showed signs of torture.

Karji was believed to be killed because of his affiliation with Baghdad TV, where he worked for two years, the source told CPJ. The channel, owned by the Iraqi Islamic Party, a large Sunni political group, had lost at least seven other employees since June 2005. The channel had been attacked by a truck laden with explosives in one incident and shelled by insurgents in another. The attacks forced the channel to relocate its main headquarters to Jordan.