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Journalist Syndicate chief escapes assassination attempt in Iraq

An assassination attempt was made Sunday against Muaid al-Lami, head of the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has said.

Four unidentified gunmen in a car intercepted and opened fire in Baghdad’s Al-Qadisiyya district on a two-car convoy carrying al-Lami and four other individuals, according to news reports. Al-Lami told New York-based CPJ that he was not wounded, but his driver, Emad Hamdy, was struck and critically injured.

Al-Lami was the target of another assassination attempt in September 2008, when a bomb exploded as he was leaving the syndicate’s headquarters in Baghdad.

Al-Lami told CPJ that the motive for this week’s attack was not clear, but he noted that the syndicate was involved in a number of controversial issues, chief among them its efforts to have parliament pass legislation aimed at protecting journalists.

The Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate is an independent association of professional journalists and is not affiliated with the government. The syndicate’s membership is varied, including individuals employed by independent media as well as those affiliated with the government and opposition factions. The pending legislation would make syndicate membership compulsory for all active journalists.

“We are alarmed by this second attempt on Muaid al-Lami’s life,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Programme Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. “We call on the Iraqi authorities to provide protection to al-Lami and ensure this attack is thoroughly investigated.

“The Iraqi authorities must take all necessary measures to put a stop to the violence and to ensure that both attacks are properly investigated,” Paris-based Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. “Parliament’s delay in adopting a law protecting journalists is prolonging the situation of impunity and seems to be the main reason why attacks on the press are continuing.”

Meanwhile, in Basra, two men on a motorcycle – one in a policeman’s uniform and one in civilian dress – threw a grenade into the garden of Al-Ahmed’s home on March 17, seriously injuring his brother’s daughter but no one else. The target was clearly Al-Ahmed himself, who is the manager of radio Sindibad and editor of the independent weekly Al-Amani, according to RSF.

According to CPJ, 141 journalists and 51 media workers have been killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion in March 2003.

Date posted: March 25, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 150