Iraq - Head of journalists union badly wounded in shooting attack



    MONTREAL, Feb. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders firmly
condemns a shooting attack in which Shahab Al-Tamimi, the head of the Iraqi
journalists union, was serious wounded on 23 February in the north Baghdad
district of Al-Waziria. Aged 75, Tamimi is now in a hospital in the
US-controlled Green Zone where his condition is stable, a doctor said.
    "Iraqi journalists are the leading witnesses of the violence that has
gripped the country since 2003 and should be protected by the authorities,"
the press freedom organisation said. "It would be regrettable if the
government were to take no action in response an attack that could have cost
this journalist his life."
    Tamimi, who has headed the journalists union since July 2004, came under
fire from three unidentified masked men as he left a meeting in a cultural
centre located near the Turkish embassy. The gunmen got away after the attack.
Tamimi was rushed to Ibn Al-Naffis hospital in the Green Zone where, according
to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, his condition is no longer
life-threatening.
    Meanwhile there is still no word of the British reporter employed by the
US TV network CBS who was kidnapped in Basra, 590 km south of Baghdad on
11 February. Members of the movement led by Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, who
obtained the release of his Iraqi interpreter on 13 February, promised on
22 February to redouble their efforts to get the journalist freed.
    Last year, 25 journalists and media assistants were kidnapped in Iraq. A
total of 208 have been killed in connection with their work since the start of
the US-led invasion in 2003. For more information, see the Iraq chapter of the
2008 Reporters Without Borders annual report, published on 13 February.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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