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JOURNALIST'S CLAIMS THAT FAMILY MASSACRED FALSE, RSF SAYS

Claims that a journalist's family was massacred in Baghdad as reported in last week's "Communiqué" are false, report Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) and news reports.

Dia al-Kawwaz, who publishes a website in Jordan, had claimed that 11 close relatives were shot by gunmen in an attack on their home in Baghdad on 25 November. But the police, the Iraqi government and even his own mother said that the massacre never happened.

According to news reports, al-Kawwaz recently recanted, saying that his initial claim was based on false information from a relative trying to discredit him, and that the only person killed was a brother-in-law who died elsewhere. Relatives say he had lied to get his immediate family refugee status in Jordan.

"We are obviously relieved to learn that the Kawwaz family is safe and sound but this journalist's behaviour is unacceptable," RSF says. "We are appalled by this deceit, which is not only sordid but also dangerous as it obscures the fact that the families of dozens of journalists have been exposed to violence by Iraq's armed groups."

Visit these links:
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=24513
- McClatchy Newspapers via KansasCity.Com: http://www.kansascity.com/news/world/story/384731.html
- AP via ABC News: http://tinyurl.com/2e8l9f
(4 December 2007)

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