Sardasht Osman

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Osman, 23, a contributor to the independent newspaper Ashtiname and news websites Sbei, Awene, Hawlati, and Lvinpress, was found shot to death in the northern city of Mosul, according to news reports.

Unidentified gunmen had seized Osman a day earlier on the campus of the University of Salahadin in Arbil, where he was a final-year English student, numerous witnesses told Metro Center, a local press freedom group. The assailants beat and dragged him into a car, Metro Center said.

Osman had received a number of threatening phone calls telling him to stop writing about the Kurdistan Regional Government and its officials, according to his brother Bashdar. In the month preceding his murder, Osman had written an article appearing in the Sweden-based Kurdistan Post that accused a high-ranking official of corruption.

In September, the Kurdistan Regional Government issued a 430-word report claiming that Osman had been killed by a member of Ansar al-Islam, an extremist group, for not carrying out work he had promised to do. The report provided no evidence for the assertion. CPJ and other press groups said the report lacked credibility.

A May 2022 report by the A Safer World for the Truth project found “serious flaws in the official investigation” and “credible allegations” that Iraqi Kurdish authorities were involved in the murder. Among the gaps and irregularities was a failure to interview family members and friends, who instead were threatened to remain silent and support the official storyline.