Authorities said Al-Sharqiya correspondent Musab Mahmood al-Ezawi, camera operators Ahmed Salim and Ihab Mu’d, and driver Qaydar Sulaiman were slain after being abducted as they filmed a story about breaking the Ramadan fast.
While five crew members were in the house filming, the three journalists and their driver were kidnapped by armed men, a local journalist told CPJ. Their bodies were later found in Al-Borsa district, a short distance from the kidnapping, the journalist said. All the victims were in their 20s.
Iraqi authorities arrested five suspects in the killings in If convicted, the suspects would be the first to be apprehended and punished out of more 130 murders of journalists and media workers since the conflict began in 2003. Haidar Hashim al-Hussein,
He was found dead in Buhrez, in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad.
According to Zyara, al-Hussein had been kidnapped in 2007 but released after he had promised kidnappers that he would leave the city of Baqouba. After his release al-Hussein moved to Baghdad, but when the Iraqi government announced that the Baqouba had been "cleansed" he went back to resume his work. He was a Shiite working in a predominantly Sunni area.
On April 14, he was freed unharmed during a raid by Iraqi forces on the house where he was being held captive in Basra's Jibiliya section. Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said the raid took place after an army patrol came under fire from the house, The Associated Press reported. Al-Askari said one of the gunmen in the house was wounded, a second was captured, and two others escaped.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said correspondent Jumana al-Obaidi, 29, was abducted from a car while on her way to a scheduled assignment at the Iraqi Environment Ministry on October 22.
Al-Obaidi worked for Radio Free Iraq, the Arabic language service of RFE/RL, which broadcasts to Iraq from RFE/RL headquarters in Prague.
The radio service said Iraqi police found the body of al-Obaidi's slain driver, identified only as Abdullah, in Baghdad's Al-Shaab neighborhood shortly after the abduction. The radio service said he was in his late 20s and was survived by a wife.
RFE/RL reported the journalist was freed on November 4 after nearly two weeks in captivity. It did not reveal details as to what led to her release or the identity of her captors.
Talal Mohammed, The Associated Press, July 28, 2007, Diyala province
On July 28, masked gunmen kidnapped Talal Mohammed, 40, a reporter and photographer for The Associated Press, and an unnamed friend near Diyala province's capital of Baqubah, the AP reported. The two men were heading toward Baghdad, southwest of Baqubah, on a public bus when they were stopped by the gunmen at an illegal checkpoint, according to the news agency. Mohammed's friend was later released.
The Associated Press reported that Mohammed's friend, who wished to remain anonymous, provided the journalist's family with the information after his release. He said they had been taken to a farm and kept apart, but heard the gunmen interrogating and beating Mohammed in an adjacent room, according to the AP.
The reasons behind Mohammed's abduction remained unclear, the AP said. The news organization said it did not release information of the kidnapping earlier because "it had been in touch with U.S. military authorities in the region in the hope of finding Mohammed."
Filaih Wuday Mijthab, Al-Sabah, June 13, 2007, Baghdad
Filaih Wuday Mijthab, the managing editor of Iraq's daily newspaper Al-Sabah, was abducted by gunmen early today on his way to work in Baghdad.
Mijthab, 53, left his home along with his eldest son and a driver when gunmen in three vehicles stopped them in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Al-Habibiya and ordered him out of the vehicle at gunpoint, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization. Mijthab was taken to an unknown location; his son and driver were not seized.
Insurgents have frequently targeted Al-Sabah and other state-run media because of their ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government.
Othman al-Mashhadani, Al-Watan, April 3, 2007, Baghdad
Al-Mashhadani, 29, a reporter for Saudi Arabia's daily newspaper Al-Watan, was abducted on his way home from work between the northwestern Baghdad districts of Al-Shoula and Al-Ghazaliya, according to CPJ sources. Colleagues told CPJ that Mashhadani was on assignment covering the Baghdad security plan and its effects on the Mahdi Army, led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
His abductors called his family hours after his abduction demanding a ransom for his release, but there was no further communication, reported the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization.
The body of al-Mashhadani was found by Iraqi security forces in Baghdad's northwestern district of Al-Shoula three days after he was abducted. He was shot in the head and chest; his body showed signs of torture and his right-hand fingers were broken, according to CPJ sources and the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory.
The Mahdi Army has a stronghold in Al-Shoula while the predominantly Sunni district of Al-Ghazaliya is under the control of Islamic Army, the largest Sunni insurgent group.
A colleague told CPJ that Al-Mashhadani reported on the activities of Islamic Army and other militias. Al-Mashhadani began work for Al-Watan in October 2006, according to an article published by the paper. He had also worked as a freelance reporter for the prominent pan-Arab weekly magazine Al-Watan al-Arabi since 2005.
Khamail Khalaf, Radio Free Iraq, April 3, 2007, Baghdad
Radio Free Iraq reporter Khamail Khalaf, who was kidnapped April 3 from Baghdad's Yarmouk district, was found dead in Baghdad's Jamia neighborhood April 5, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and CPJ sources. Police received an anonymous call informing them that there was a body on the street. They came under heavy fire by unidentified assailants when they went to retrieve her body, according to RFE/RL and CPJ sources.
RFE/RL reported that an unidentified caller used Khalaf's cell phone to contact her family, but no demands for ransom were made. Khalaf received prior threats, according to RFE/RL. It is not clear if the threats were directly work-related.
Khalaf had reported on social and cultural life in Iraq for Radio Free Iraq since 2004, according to a statement by RFE/RL. Radio Free Iraq is the Arabic language service of RFE/RL in Iraq and broadcasts from its headquarters in Prague.
Karim Manhal, Radio Dijla, March 17, 2007, Baghdad
Around 8:30 a.m. on March 17, 2006, four masked gunmen seized Karim Manhal, a news presenter and editor for the privately owned Radio Dijla, and the station's driver, Thamir Sabri, as they were heading to work in Baghdad's Al-Jamia neighborhood, station Director Karim Yousef told CPJ. A passenger and colleague, Rana al-Samaraee, was allowed to go free, he said. The abduction took place near the station's offices.
Both Manhal and Sabri are in their late 40s. Manhal has been working for Radio Dijla for nearly three years.
Jamal al-Zubaidi, As-Saffir and Al-Dustour, February 24, 2007, Baghdad
Gunmen seized al-Zubaidi, 56, an economics editor for the Baghdad-based dailies As-Saffir and Al-Dustour. He was last seen leaving As-Saffir's offices in the central Karada neighborhood around 1 p.m. on February 24.
Police later found the editor dead, with gunshot wounds to the head, in Baghdad's southwestern neighborhood of Al-Aamal, the editor's son, Riyah, told CPJ. Al-Zubaidi's family identified his family in a Baghdad morgue on March 4.
Al-Zubaidi had worked for As-Saffir and Al-Dustour for three years.
Abdulrazak Hashim Ayal, Jumhuriyat Al-Iraq, February 4, 2007, Baghdad
Gunmen abducted Ayal, 45, an editor and news presenter at radio Jumhuriyat al-Iraq, and his cousin, in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Al-Jihad. The two were found dead, with several gunshot wounds, the next day, Ayal's brother, Majid, told CPJ. Family members identified the bodies on February 19 in Baghdad's Al-Tib al-Adli morgue.
The gunmen spoke several times with the family, using Ayal's cell phone. The kidnappers told the brother that they killed Ayal because he was a journalist who was harming Iraq. They identified themselves as belonging to Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a group headed by the now-deceased extremist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Ayal returned to Iraq in 2003, after spending 21 years as prisoner of war in Iran following his capture in 1982 during the Iran-Iraq war, and began working for radio Jumhuriyat al-Iraq. Ayal presented a parliamentary news show discussing government and politics, Majid told CPJ.
Radio Jumhuriyat al-Iraq is part of the state-run Iraqi Media Network. Insurgents have frequently targeted state-run media because of their ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government.
Al-Dulaimi became a reporter for Al-Nahrain four months ago. Barood worked at the station since it was established just over a year and a half ago. The motive behind the murders is unclear. Al-Mehdawi told CPJ that neither the station nor the journalists had ever received threats.
Ali Fayyad, As-Saffir
March 16, 2006
Ali Fayyad, a reporter for the Baghdad-based newspaper As-Saffir, was kidnapped by an armed gang as he was leaving his paper’s offices in Alsaa’don Street in Baghdad, according to local CPJ sources. The abductors demanded US$30,000 from his family to secure his release. Ali Fayyad used to report for the now-defunct Iraqi daily Sada Wasit, a local newspaper in the southern city of Kut.
Fayyad was released on April 3.
Marwan Ghazal and Reem Zaeed, Samaria TV
February 1, 2006
Ghazal and Zaeed, from the privately owned television station Samaria TV, were abducted by gunmen in Baghdad's Yarmouk district after covering a meeting at the offices of the Iraqi Islamic Party, The Associated Press reported, citing a cameraman working for the station. The cameraman said two other journalists were briefly seized but released.
An Iraqi police official told the AP that the journalists were driving away from the offices when they were stopped by six armed men traveling in two cars. There has been no claim of responsibility.
Jill Carroll, freelancer/The Christian Science Monitor
Carroll, an American freelancer on assignment for The Christian Science Monitor, was seized by unidentified gunmen in the Adil neighborhood of western Baghdad with her interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, according to the newspaper.
Enwiyah's body was later found in the same neighborhood with two bullets to the head, the Boston-based daily said, citing law enforcement officials. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the abductions and killing.
The kidnapping occurred after Carroll was leaving the office of Adnan al-Dulaimi, a prominent Sunni politician, the Monitor reported. Carroll had intended to interview Al-Dulaimi who was not available. The gunmen intercepted Carroll's car as it left the office, commandeered the vehicle with Carroll and Enwiyah inside, and sped away.
Carroll worked in Iraq since October 2003 and contributed articles to the Monitor regularly since February 2004, the newspaper said. In Baghdad, Carroll also worked for the Italian news agency ANSA, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other U.S. dailies. She had previously worked as a reporter for The Jordan Times in Amman.
Phil Sands, freelancer
British freelance journalist Sands, 28, was freed on January 1, 2006 by U.S. soldiers who happened upon him by chance during a routine hunt for insurgents. Sands, who contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle and The Scotsman, was abducted by gunmen while on his way to an interview in Baghdad on December 26, 2005. His abduction became public only on January 13.
Two luxury sedans forced Sand's driver to stop, and some 10 men in ski masks carrying AK-47 rifles surrounded his car, the Chronicle reported. The gunmen pulled Sand's wool hat down over his eyes, handcuffed him, and put him in the trunk of one of the cars, Sands told the Chronicle. His driver and translator were also abducted.
All three captives were taken to a farmhouse on the outskirts of Baghdad. The gunmen identified themselves only as Sunni Muslims. On his second day in the house, Sand's abductors videotaped him making an appeal for British troops to leave Iraq, but the video was never broadcast. After U.S. troops stumbled across him, Sands was flown by helicopter to the secure Green Zone in Baghdad. He was then flown to Dubai, where British security officials questioned him for the next seven days. U.S. troops detained the driver and translator.
Sands had been covering the Iraq conflict since February 2003, visiting the country more than 10 times. He was always embedded with U.S. or British troops, but had decided four days before his kidnapping to try reporting in Baghdad on his own.
Rory Carroll, Guardian
Carroll, Baghdad correspondent for London's Guardian newspaper, was released unharmed after a day in captivity, the publication said. The Guardian said a group of armed men seized Carroll as he left a house in Sadr City, a stronghold of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Carroll had been conducting an interview about Saddam Hussein's regime, the Guardian said.
Fakher Haider, The New York Times
Fakher Haider of The New York Times was seized on the night of September 18, 2005, from his home in the al-Asmaey neighborhood of the southern city of Basra by several men claiming to be police officers. His body was found on September 19, 2005, in the southwestern Al-Kiblah neighborhood with at least one gunshot to the head, according to his family. He also had bruises on his back, the New York Times said in a statement.
Haider, 38, who had been with The New York Times for more than two years, also worked for Merbad TV, a local Basra station, the Guardian in London, National Geographic and other publications. He was married with three small children.
Hind Ismail, As-Saffir
On September 16, 2005, Hind Ismail, a 28-year-old reporter for the local daily As-Saffir, was kidnapped in the northern city of Mosul, local journalists told CPJ. Police in the southern suburb of al-Muthana found her body the next morning with a single bullet wound to the head.
"Hind was a very active reporter in Mosul," As-Saffir Deputy Editor Slayhe al-Jowiree said. "We respected her very much in her pursuit to uncover the truth," he added.
Steven Vincent, freelance
Vincent, who had written for a number of U.S. publications and was working on a book, was abducted in Basra along with his translator, Noor al-Khal, on August 2. They were taken by armed men driving what initial press reports described variously as a pickup truck or possibly a police car.
Vincent's bullet-riddled body was found with hands tied with plastic wire and a red piece of cloth wrapped around the neck, The New York Times reported. Al-Khal was seriously wounded and was hospitalized.
In an op-ed article published in The Times on July 31, Vincent said police in Basra had fallen under the sway of Shiite religious groups, and he strongly criticized British authorities in charge of police training for tolerating such influence.
Vincent's work also appeared in The Christian Science Monitor and the National Review. A resident of New York City, he had been in Basra for several months working on a book about the Iraqi port city.
Vincent was the first U.S. journalist to be murdered in Iraq.
Khaled al-Attar, Al-Iraqiya
Al-Attar, an Iraqi television producer for the state news channel Al-Iraqiya, was killed in Mosul after being kidnapped earlier in the day.
Ghazi al-Faisal, a supervisor at the Al-Iraqiya station in Mosul, said al-Attar helped produce a number of programs, including "How's It My Business?" a satirical look at Iraqi government. Al-Attar also appeared on camera. Al-Faisal said that he was unaware of any threats to al-Attar, but noted that the station's employees have been targeted.
Al-Faisal said that al-Attar was working when he was kidnapped shortly after noon. His bullet-ridden body was found later in the day near a local mosque.
Insurgents have increasingly targeted Al-Iraqiya and its journalists because of the station's ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. Insurgents have killed at least three other employees of the station and its affiliates since last year, and the offices of the station and its affiliates have repeatedly come under mortar attack.
Marie Jeanne Ion, Prima TV
Sorin Dumitru Miscoci, Prima TV
Ovidiu Ohanesian, Romania Libera
The three Romanian journalists were abducted in Baghdad about 8:30 p.m., according to international press reports. Petre Mihai Bacanu, managing editor of Romania Libera, told The Associated Press that the journalists went missing after conducting an interview with interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. They had been on assignment in Iraq for about five days. The AP reported that the abduction took place outside the hotel in the Jadriya neighborhood of Baghdad, which is outside the fortified Green Zone.
The journalists somehow contacted Prima TV staff by phone after being seized and, during the call, were overheard pleading for their lives with their kidnappers,
according to press reports. Ion also sent a text message to Prima TV indicating that the journalists had been kidnapped. Ion and Ohanesian are reporters; Miscoci is a camera operator.
The captors, a group identfying itself as the Muadh ibn Jabal Brigade had threatened to kill the journalists if Romania did not withdraw its 800 troops from Iraq, a demand that the Romanian government rejected.
The three journalists were eventually released on May 22 along with their translator after nearly two months of captivity. The journalists arrived in Romania today.
Romanian President Traian Basescu said that his country's intelligence agents negotiated the release of the journalists and that no ransom was paid.
Raeda Wazzan, Al-Iraqiya
Wazzan, a news anchor with the Iraqi state TV channel Al-Iraqiya who was kidnapped on February 20, was found dead five days later on a roadside in Mosul, where the journalist had lived and worked, according to press reports citing her husband. She had been shot in the head repeatedly. Gunmen had also kidnapped Wazzan's 10-year-old son, but he was released days later.
Wazzan's husband said that his wife had received several death threats with demands that she quit her job, The Associated Press reported. The station, funded by the Iraqi government, also came under mortar attack last week, injuring three technicians, according to press reports. The AP reported that al-Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks in Internet postings, but those claims could not be independently verified.
Wazzan became the 37th journalist killed in Iraq since March 2003.
Meutya Hafid, Metro TV
Budiyanto, Metro TV
Gunmen seized reporter Hafid, cameraman Budiyanto and their driver, Ibrahim Abdel Khader, near the city of Ramadi. The two Indonesians, from Indonesia's 24-hour news channel, Metro TV, and their Iraqi driver were en route from Amman, Jordan, to cover the observance of Ashura, one of the most important religious events for Shiites, according to station officials.
The three were freed on Feb. 21 and were reported in good health. In a telephone interview with Metro TV, the journalists said they were abducted by three men, one of them armed with an assault rifle, while they refueled their vehicle, the AP reported.
Giuliana Sgrena, Il Manifesto
February 4, 2005
Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, abducted on February 4, was released on March 4. Shortly after her release, she was wounded and an Italian intelligence agent escorting her was killed when U.S.-led coalition forces fired on their car near a military checkpoint in Baghdad.
Sgrena, a reporter for the Rome-based daily Il Manifesto, was being taken to Baghdad International Airport when the shooting occurred.
The shooting claimed the life of Italian secret service agent Nicola Calipari. In article published in Il Manifesto, Sgrena said the agent threw himself over her to protect her from fire.
According to a statement issued by the U.S. Army's Third Infantry Division, soldiers tried to warn the driver to stop before firing at the vehicle's engine block. "About 9 p.m., a patrol in western Baghdad observed the vehicle speeding towards their checkpoint and attempted to warn the driver to stop by hand-and-arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots in front of the car," the statement said.
Sgrena disputed the military's account in published comments. She said "there was no bright light, no signal" and that her car was traveling at "regular speed."
Sgrena was abducted near Baghdad University, where she had been conducting interviews. Two weeks later, kidnappers released a video showing her pleading for her life and calling on U.S. and coalition troops to leave Iraq. Uncorroborated claims of responsibility for the journalist's abduction had appeared on Islamist Web sites, but the video showed the words "Mujahedeen Without Borders" inscribed in digital red Arabic script in the backdrop.
The Italian government said it would not accede to demands to pull out its troops.
Florence Aubenas, Libération, January 5, 2005
Aubenas, a French journalist with the daily newspaper Libération, and her Iraqi translator, Hussein al-Saadi, were released by their kidnappers on June 11 after spending more than five months in captivity.
The two were abducted on or about January 5, when they were seen leaving their hotel in Baghdad. According to published reports, Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar announced on January 13 that Aubenas and al-Saadi had been kidnapped, although Yawar did not elaborate.
In a videotape released on March 1, Aubenas was shown looking pale and tired and stated that she was in bad health, The Associated Press reported. "Please help me. ... It's urgent," Aubenas said on the tape. The journalist also pleaded for French lawmaker Didier Julia, who attempted to mediate the release of two other French journalists held hostage in Iraq last year, to help win her release.
The circumstances of the release were unclear, as was the identity of the group that held them for 157 days. French authorities did not immediately provide details about the release or the kidnappers. They have denied that a ransom was paid despite speculation in the French media.
John Martinkus, SBS Television
Martinkus, a journalist working for Austrialia's state-funded SBS Television, was abducted by gunmen near his Baghdad hotel. He was held for about 24 hours and released unharmed by his captors.
Paul Taggart, Freelance/World Picture News
Taggart, an American freelance photographer, was abducted by armed men in Baghdad. He had been driving to the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City. Taggart was released on October 12.
Scott Taylor, Freelance
Zeynep Tugrul, Sabah
Taylor, a Canadian freelance reporter, and Tugrul, a staff reporter for Turkey's Sabah daily, were abducted by a group calling itself Ansar al-Islam on the evening of September 7 in Tal Afar in northern Iraq. Tugrul was released on September 10, and Taylor was released on September 11.
Enzo Baldoni, Freelance
Baldoni, an Italian freelance journalist, went missing on August 20 while traveling to Najaf. In a videotape released to Al-Jazeera, a group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq claimed responsibility for Baldoni's abduction. On August 26, Al-Jazeera reported that Baldoni had been executed by his captors. The station said it received a video from the Islamic Army in Iraq that showed Baldoni after the killing. Baldoni's driver was also reportedly killed.
Christian Chesnot, Radio France-Internationale and Radio France
Georges Malbrunot, Le Figaro and Ouest France
Chesnot, a reporter with Radio France-Internationale and Radio France, and Malbrunot, a reporter with the French dailies Le Figaro and Ouest France, were abducted on August 20 while traveling to the southern city of Najaf. A group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq claimed responsibility for their abduction in videotapes aired on Al-Jazeera.
The journalists' driver, Muhammed al-Jundi, was also abducted. He was found shackled in a house run by insurgents in Fallujah in November, according to the U.S. Marines.
The two journalists were released on December 21. The kidnappers said they freed the journalists after confirming that the two were not U.S. spies. According to Al-Jazeera, the statement also said that the journalists were freed because of appeals by Islamic groups, "in appreciation of the French government's stand on the Iraq issue," and the journalists' position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Micah Garen, Freelance
Garen, an American freelance journalist and filmmaker, and his interpreter were abducted by gunmen on or about August 13 in Nasiriyah. Both were freed on August 22.
James Brandon, Freelance
Brandon, a British freelance reporter, was abducted by gunmen from his hotel in Basra on August 12. He was released the following day.
Jumpei Yasuda, Tokyo Shimbun
Yasuda, a journalist working for the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbun was abducted by gunmen outside Baghdad on April 14. He was released on April 17.
Michal Kubal and Petr Klima, Czech Television
Vit Pohanka, Czech Radio
Reporters Kubal and Pohanka, and cameraman Klima were abducted by gunmen outside Baghdad while en route to Amman, Jordan, on April 11. All three were released April 16.
Ivan Cerieix, Capa
Cerieix, a cameraman working for the French television agency Capa, was abducted near Baghdad on April 11 and released.
Alexandre Jordanov, Capa
Jourdanov, a journalist working for the French television agency Capa, was abducted near Baghdad on April 11. He was freed on April 14.
Soichiro Koriyama, Freelance
Koriyama, a Japanese freelance journalist, was kidnapped by gunmen along with two Japanese aid workers on April 8. He was released on April 15.
Jeffrey Gettleman, The New York Times
Lynsey Addario, Freelance
Gettleman, a reporter for The New York Times, and Addario, a freelancer on assignment for The Times, were abducted by gunmen on April 7 outside Baghdad. They were released the same day.
John Burns, The New York Times
Burns, a correspondent for The New York Times, and an unidentified photographer were abducted by militants believed to be affiliated with radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on April 6 in the city of Kufa. They were held for several hours before being released. Several support people working for The New York Times—drivers, security guards, and an interpreter—were also detained and released.
Stephen Farrell, The Times of London
Orly Halpern, Freelance
Farrell, a reporter for The Times of London, and Halpern, an American freelancer, were abducted by gunmen near the Iraqi city of Fallujah on April 6. They were released the same day.