Investigating the murder of Kurdish journalist in Iraq
Mama Hama, 23, a reporter with the Sulaymania-based Livin magazine, had received threatening messages before the slaying, local journalists told CPJ today. Mama Hama had written articles critical of local authorities, those journalists said.
His last article in Livin recounted the prevalence of prostitution in Kirkuk and the alleged complicity of police and security officials. In the article, which was reviewed by CPJ, Mama Hama claimed that he had collected the names of â€œpolice brigadiers, many lieutenants, colonels, and many police and security officersâ€ who were clients.
Ahmed Mira, Livinâ€™s editor-in-chief, told CPJ that the slaying was designed to â€œsilence the free voices in Kirkuk.â€ He called the murder â€œa very dangerousâ€ development for the regionâ€™s media.
Kirkuk Police Brig. Jamal Tahir told CPJ that the department had launched an investigation. He called it a â€œserious situationâ€ that will get â€œspecial attention.â€
â€œThe killing of Soran Mama Hama again shows the terrible risks faced by journalists working in Iraq,â€ CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney said. â€œHis murder seems intended to silence critical reporting in a region where independent journalism is trying to establish a foothold. We call on the authorities do everything in their power to track down Mama Hamaâ€™s killers and bring them to justice.â€
The shooting occurred at around 9 p.m. in the Shorija neighborhood, which is considered a relatively safe area. Initial accounts varied as to how many times Mama Hama was shot. Local journalists said the gunmen were driving a BMW.
A campaign demanding an invastigation was launched and its activists are still calling for support. Please take a moment to spread the word and help win justice for Soran.