Fourth anniversary of journalist Wadat Hussein's murder in Duhok

FILE: Roj News journalist Wadat Hussein (NRT Digital Media/File)

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SULAIMANI — The security forces in Duhok blocked mourners from gathering to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the murder of journalist Wadat Hussein on Thursday (August 13).

A reporter for Roj News, Hussein was kidnapped by unknown individuals on August 13, 2016 in Duhok city and found dead the same day on the side of the Duhok-Semel road near the village of Segei. The 28-year-old’s body showed signs of torture.

No one has been prosecuted for his murder.

When mourners tried to gather at his graveside for a commemoration organized by the Metro Center for Journalists’ Rights and Advocacy on Thursday, the local security forces prevented all but his family from doing so, Roj News reported.

NRT Digital Media reporter Taeif Goran said that the security forces prevented an NRT reporting team from going to the grave and seized their mobile phones.

“The Asayish told us that they will not let any sabotaging journalists and activists come here,” Hussein’s brother Abdulrahman told the outlet.

Hussein is one of four journalists murdered in the Kurdistan Region since 2008, including Soran Mama Hama, Sardasht Osman, and Kawa Garmiani.

The anniversary came one day after what the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq called a “black day” for journalists in the Kurdistan Region.

While covering anti-government protests in Ranya, journalist Hunar Rasool died of a suspected heart attack. He worked for television channel Gali Kurdistan (GK).

In Erbil, Duhok, and Koya, the local security forces harassed and detained journalists from multiple outlets who were covering the protests, including NRT.

Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, ranked 156 out of 180 on the RSF 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

(NRT Digital Media)

This story was updated at 8:27 p.m. EBL