Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) An Iraqi observatory has declared disappearance of a journalist in ‘mysterious circumstances’ in Baghdad.
“Colleague Haidar Dakhel al-Atabi came from his home in Waset province to Baghdad for a work mission, when communications with him were lost,” a statement by The Iraqi Observatory for Press Freedoms (IOPF) quoted Ali al-Saadi, chief editor of Basmapress, as saying. “The information, we have, shows that he disappeared when he was in his car on al-Qanah highway.”
Saadi urged “security services and Interior Ministry to work on securing Atabi and releasing him as soon as possible.”
The Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq accused security services of kidnapping Iraqi journalist Abdullah Latif, a student rights activist and a reporter for Tareek Alshaab, a mouthpiece of the Iraqi Communist Party, along with six other students earlier this month.
The first Iraqi slain journalist in 2017 was Abdul Qader al-Qaisi, who was kidnapped and then found by security forces in January. His body was dumped on the road between Kirkuk and Baghdad. Another journalist Afrah Shawqi was abducted for nine days and then released.
In December, a report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said seven reporters were killed in Iraq in 2016, out of a total of 57 who were killed in conflict areas across the world. Syria came on top of the death tally with 19 victims. The total for 2016 was, however, a drop from the 101 death count of 2015.
In October, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Iraq was the world’s top country in terms of impunity regarding journalists’ killing, attributing the fact to the involvement of extremist militias in the murders.