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Female reporter Sahar Al-Haidari, on death list of journalists, shot dead

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) -The following is an ARTICLE 19 press release:

"ONE BULLET IN THE HEART"
ARTICLE 19 mourns the death of Sahar Al-Haidari, assassinated today

It is with great sadness and anger that ARTICLE 19 learned today that our colleague and friend Sahar Al-Haidari, Iraqi journalist, was murdered in her home town of Mosul.

Some of the last words she sent us were for World Press Freedom Day. Sahar told us then that her only wish was that her end be swift and painless: "One bullet in the heart."

She was shot by several unknown armed individuals today, Thursday June 7, around noon, in the city of Mosul. She died instantly.

Born in 1962, Sahar was the mother of three children. She held a BA degree in Media, and worked as a news reporter for "Iraq Voices" News Agency in the city of Mosul, "the National Iraq News Agency-Nina", and the "Institute for War and Peace Reporting".

In her World Press Freedom Day report from last month, Sahar wrote that her name was included in a death list of 8 journalists. The list, circulated throughout the City of Mosul, asked for all named individuals on the list to be executed. Sahar had been kidnapped in 2005 by a militant group and escaped by "miracle". In 2006 she was shot and badly injured as she was taking pictures of burned mosques. She told us that journalists in Iraq are targeted because they are journalists: the aim is to silence their voices.

According to the Iraqi-based organisation, Journalists Freedom Observary (JFO), three journalist have been assassinated in Iraq in the last two weeks, including Dr. Abdelrohman Alisawi, killed by a militant group together with 7 members of his family in Falojah, and Nizar Alradi, a prominent reporter on "Iraqi Voices" News Agency who was killed in Misan city as he was getting ready to attend a workshop with other journalists.

35 journalists and media personnel have been killed in the city of Mosul alone since 2003. The JFO regards Mosul as the second most dangerous city in the world for journalists, after Baghdad.

ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works globally to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.

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