"Brutal" killing of Kurdish journalist condemned

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Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO

The "brutal" killing of a journalist in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has been strongly condemned by the UN deputy special envoy for the country.

In a statement released on Monday, Gyorgy Busztin said he was "deeply disturbed" by the act and called on the authorities to put in place urgent measures to guarantee the safety of all journalists and media professionals.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

Widad Hussein Ali, a freelance reporter, was abducted on Saturday by unknown armed persons in Dohuk city in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Hours later, he was found unconscious on the side of a road but died shortly after being taken to a hospital.

Mr Ali's body displayed serious wounds and bruising in addition to severe injuries to his head suggesting he had been subjected to severe beatings.

A police investigation has been launched into his murder.

The UN deputy special envoy said he was "deeply disturbed" by the killing.

The act, he said, appeared to be part of a growing pattern of threats, intimidation and violence being directed against journalists and other media professionals working in the region.

Mr Busztin urged the Government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to promote a safe and enabling environment for all journalists so that they can perform their work independently and without interference.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 59″

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