Iraqi reporter who criticised government shot dead

September 08, 2011 - 11:33:04 pm

BAGHDAD: Police say an Iraqi journalist who criticised the government has been shot to death. Hadi Al Mehdi had a weekly programme on a Baghdad radio channel on which he called on the government to provide better water, electricity and other public services to Iraqis. He also used Facebook to organise demonstrations every Friday in Baghdad.

A city police officer says the 30-year-old man was shot yesterday by gunmen using silenced pistols in the capital’s mostly Shia neighbourhood of Al Jidida.

His death was confirmed by a medic at Ibn Al Nafis hospital.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release the information.

Human rights watchdogs have consistently called Iraq one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.

Meanwhile, special forces in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region detained and beat a magazine editor, media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a statement condemning the attack.

RSF “condemns yesterday’s illegal arrest and beating of Lvin magazine editor Ahmed Mira by special forces in Sulaimaniyah, in northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region. Mira was held for three hours before being freed by a judge,” the statement said.

It quoted Mira as saying that men in special forces uniforms stormed the magazine’s offices, threatening his secretary and conducting an extensive search of his office.

“Then I was handcuffed and hit on the legs and ankles with the butt of a Kalashnikov (rifle). My brother Osman was also hit,” Mira said, adding that he was eventually brought before a judge who ordered his release over three hours after the incident began.

“I still don’t know why I was attacked like this. I have filed a complaint against the special forces and against the police officers who insulted me when I was at the police station,” Mira said.