Iraq - Journalist gunned down in Kirkuk, investigators urged to work on theory he was killed because of his reporting



    MONTREAL, July 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders condemns the
murder of reporter Soran Mama Hama of the fortnightly magazine Leven, who was
gunned down yesterday outside his home in Kirkuk, in the northern region of
Kurdistan. His colleagues said he had received threats about articles he had
written on sensitive subjects.
    "We call on the Kurdistan authorities to carry out a thorough
investigation into the circumstances of Hama's murder," Reporters Without
Borders said. "He wrote hard-hitting articles about local politicians and
security officials and had received threats from people telling him to stop
his investigative reporting. The authorities should therefore give priority to
the theory that he was killed because of his work."
    Hama was gunned down outside his home in the Kirkuk suburb of Rasheed Awa
yesterday evening by four men who left in a BMW car. He died on the spot.
    One of his colleagues at Leven, Hemin Hussein, told Reporters Without
Borders that the aim of his murder was "to gag the newspaper, which has always
been very critical of the government."
    Leven issued a statement calling on the Kurdistan president's office, the
regional government and the Kurdish national assembly "to do their duty" to
ensure that a proper investigation is carried out into Hama's murder.
    Aged 23, Hama had worked for Leven for more than three years. An
independent Kurdish-language fortnightly that was created in 2001, Leven often
covers government corruption. Hama had written an article in the latest issue
that was about the involvement of Kurdish officials in prostitution rings.
    Hama's murder brings the number of journalists and media assistants
killed in Iraq since March 2003 to 217. Thirteen of them were killed in
Kirkuk.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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