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Drop defamation charges against reporter who wrote about militias, says RSF

2020-10-25

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SULAIMANI — Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Friday (October 23) called on the Iraqi government not to execute a warrant for reporter Suadad al-Salhy and to drop the defamation charge brought against her.

A journalist for Middle East Eye, al-Salhy filed a story last week showing that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered militias in Iraq to stop operations against US and foreign military and diplomatic facilities. The attacks had sparked a strong reaction from Washington, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatening to shutter the US Embassy in Baghdad in response.

Al-Salhy has written extensively on Iraq and the militias, which is a sensitive subject in the country. Security analyst Hisham al-Hashemi was assassinated on July 6, with Iranian-backed militias suspected of responsibility.

“We ask the Iraqi authorities to ensure that Suadad Al-Salhy is not detained and that the judicial proceedings against her are dropped,” Head of RSF’s Middle East desk Sabrina Bennoui said in a statement.

“This journalist, who is known for her professionalism, just did her job. Revealing information, even sensitive information that annoys some people, is fundamental principle of the freedom to inform,” Bennoui added.

Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are increasingly dangerous places for journalists to work. RSF ranks Iraq 162 out of 180 on its 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

(NRT Digital Media)