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Communication and Information Sector's news service

Director–General condemns murders of three Iraqi journalists

09-07-2007 (Paris)
Director–General condemns murders of three Iraqi journalists
Stop killing journalists
© Derstandard
“I condemn the murders of Sarmad Hamdi Al-Hassani, Mohammed Hilal Karji and Louaï Souleimane,” declared Mr Matsuura.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, condemned the murders of three Iraqi journalists: Sarmad Hamdi Al-Hassani and Mohammed Hilal Karji from Baghdad TV and Louaï Souleimane, from the newspaper Nineveh in Mossoul.

“I condemn the murders of Sarmad Hamdi Al-Hassani, Mohammed Hilal Karji and Louaï Souleimane,” declared Mr Matsuura. “In less than two months, two journalists from the same television channel were abducted and killed. The month before, the channel’s headquarters were targeted by a terrorist attack. Such deadly determination shows that criminals have deliberately set out to silence the voices that speak out against them and to eliminate freedom of expression. Yet the future of Iraq depends on respect for this fundamental human right. It must be protected, and everything must be done to reinforce the security of media professionals.”

Sarmad Hamdi Al-Hassani, 43, was abducted on 27 June in the Al-Jami’a section of Baghdad. His body was identified the next day in the morgue. Mohammed Hilal Karji suffered a similar fate after being kidnapped on 8 June outside his home in south Baghdad. Last 5 April, a bombing targeted Baghdad TV, the journalists’ employer, destroying its headquarters and killing the deputy director and one of his assistants.

Louaï Souleimane worked for the newspaper Nineveh, published in Mossoul by the Christian organization Baoit Nahrain. His body, riddled with bullets, was found on 28 June in the northern town.

UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this purpose the Organization is required to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”
Related themes/countries

      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2007
      · Press Freedom: News Archives 2007
      · Iraq: News Archives 2007
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Contact information

  • UNESCO Press Release No. 2007-90

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