Friday, July 17, 2009

WWB: kidnapping of journalists

WHAT WAR BRINGS: kidnapping of journalists

Yesterday I covered the imprisonment of journalists by US forces without charges. I called that ‘kidnapping’. Today, I am going to cover what most people consider kidnapping – when non-state actors abduct people against their will and detain them against their will.

Sometimes it is done for ransom, sometimes for political reasons, and sometimes no clear reason can be detected.

The Committee to Protect Journalists follows this closely. They have a list of journalists abducted in Iraq, and separate it out by year, nationality, gender, location, and outcome. About 2/3 are released and about 1/3 are murdered.


  • Released: 35
  • Murdered: 17
  • Still held: 5

There were six journalists kidnapped in 2008 in Iraq. Four of them happened in one incident, and the very sad outcome was that they were murdered:

Musab Mahmood al-Ezawi, Al-Sharquiya TV
Ahmed Salim, Al-Sharqiya TV
Ihab Mu’d, Al-Sharqiya TV
Qaydar Sulaiman, Al-Sharqiya TV

September 13, Mosul

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.

Here is another one with a very sad outcome:

Haidar Hashim al-Hussein, Al-Sharq
May 21, Buhrez, Diyala

Al-Hussein, a 37-year-old journalist who worked for the Baghdad-based daily Al-Sharq, was abducted on May 20 in the al-Tahrir district of Baqouba while on his way to work at around 8 a.m.

He was found dead in Buhrez, in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad.

And one with a better outcome:

Richard Butler, CBS News' 60 Minutes
February 10, 2008, Basra

Butler, a producer and photographer on assignment for CBS News magazine 60 Minutes and his Iraqi interpreter were seized by gunmen at the Sultan Palace Hotel in Basra on the morning of February 10, 2008, CBS News reported. The translator was freed days later, but Butler, a British national, remained in captivity for two months.

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.

Further information on prior year kidnappings in Iraq is available at the Committee to Protect Journalists website.

And, sadly, kidnapping of journalists is occurring in Afghanistan too. Committee to Protect Journalists had this to say:

The security situation deteriorated as reporters came under increasing threats, both political and criminal in nature. At least three foreign correspondents and two local reporters were kidnapped across the country, not only in the provincial areas that became exceedingly dangerous after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, but in the area surrounding the capital, Kabul, that had once been considered safer.

Here is some information on the kidnapped journalists:

Freelance documentarian Sean Langan was working for Britain’s Channel 4 program “Dispatches” when he was abducted near the border with Pakistan on March 28 by a Taliban group. He was released three months later. Dutch journalist Joanie de Rijke, who wrote for the Belgian magazine P, was released November 7 after being held captive for six days near Kabul. She had been working in an area near the city. On November 8, CBC reporter Mellissa Fung was freed after a month in captivity. She had been grabbed while conducting interviews at a refugee camp near Kabul, which had been considered a safe area for foreigners.

And on November 30, Taliban militants freed two Afghan journalists—Dawa Khan Menapal of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and local television reporter Aziz Popal—after holding them captive for three days, The Associated Press reported. Kidnappers seized the two as they were driving on the Kabul-Kandahar highway in Ghazni province.

This is just a partial listing of journalists who have been kidnapped in Afghanistan. As things are heating up there, the situation is getting worse…. Although it is no where near as bad as the situation in Iraq has been.

If you support the continued occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan, or the bombing of Pakistan, then you support WHAT WAR BRINGS: kidnapping of journalists.

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