Human rights defender Mohammed Bedaiwi killed in Iraq

March 25, 2014

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedreports that on 22 March 2014, human rights defender and director of Radio Free Iraq, Mr Mohammed Bedaiwi, was shot dead, allegedly by an officer of the Presidential Regiment, in Baghdad. Mohamed Bedaiwi was a professor at the University and, for the past two years, the director of the Baghdad office of Radio Free Iraq. The station broadcasts from Prague. Mohammed Bedaiwi was stopped at a checkpoint on his way to work. An argument began between an officer and the human rights defender, and other officers reportedly began to beat Mohammed Bedaiwi. The incident culminated in the killing of the human rights defender. Reports indicate that the officer has been arrested but his identity has not been disclosed, leading to fears that the case may end in impunity. Mohammed Bedaiwi was very well-known and local sources consider it unlikely that the officers did not recognise him. On 23 March 2014 over 40 media institutions, including newspapers, radio stations and satellite TV channels, refrained from publishing or broadcasting in protest at the killing of Mohammed Bedaiwi. There have also been vigils and marches around the Iraqi capital in honour of the human rights defender. The press syndicate has expressed its concern about the killing of a journalist by an armed officer of the Presidential Guard.

[Since 2003 approximately 274 media professionals have been killed in Iraq; in the last four months alone, 11 journalists have been killed]

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