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Police attack journalist's home in Baghdad

(RSF/IFEX) - Policemen fired on the Baghdad home of the head of the Iraqi Press Agency, Haydar Hassoun Al-Fizaa, on 27 August 2010, injuring his wife and other relatives, before searching the premises and damaging furniture.

The attack on Al-Fizaa's home in the east Baghdad neighbourhood of Al-Shaab was carried out by police officers travelling in seven interior ministry vehicles. With the help of neighbours, Al-Fizaa was able to take his badly-injured wife to hospital. Other members of the family were also hospitalised.

Officials said the police had not known that Al-Fizaa owned the house and carried out the raid on the basis of information that a hostage was being held there. They also claimed that no shots were fired during the operation.

The police showed no warrant before carrying out the raid and did not make any arrests. They failed to apologise to Al-Fizaa and offered no compensation.

The contradictory claims by officials and the illegal nature of the raid constitute, at the very least, a breach of the rule of law. An impartial and independent investigation is needed to dispel any doubts about the reasons for the raid. Those responsible must be punished, RSF said.

A journalist since 1996, Al-Fizaa has written many articles. He has headed the Iraqi Press Agency since 2008.

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