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Iraqi journalist arrested and tortured, TV station harassed

(ANHRI/IFEX) - 28 November 2012 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights (ANHRI) deplores the ban issued to the Baghdadiah TV station on 24 November by the Iraqi security forces, preventing it from covering the events of Ashura, a symbolic day for Muslims and Shiites specifically, in Baghdad.

ANHRI also condemns the arrest and torture of journalist Sabah Hasan and the refusal to release her.

Iraqi security forces prevented Baghdadiah's reporters and photographers from getting to the location of the event and reporting on it up close. The Baghdad Operations Command also ordered those operating check points in Kazimeah, where events took place, to prevent the station's photographers from entering the city.

Officers working at the check points harassed the reporters and accused them of being supporters of the old regime. They also swore at them and accused them of being agents of Saddam Hussein's previous rule.

In a separate incident, female reporter Hasan was arrested and tortured by security forces in the city of Tikrit. Police officers humiliated and insulted her. They forced her to stand naked in front of other officers while they poured cold water on her and burned her body with their cigarette stubs. She was then wrapped in a blanket and transferred from Saddam Hussein's palaces to the Tikrit police station in the city's downtown core.

"It is unfortunate after the downfall of the tyrant Saddam Hussein to live under the shadows of segregation and the repression of freedom of opinion and expression in addition to the continuous harassments to media outlets, reporters and journalists. It is unfortunate that Iraq does not pay attention to the political momentum that is taking place in the Arab world which leans favourably towards the ideals of freedom of opinion and expression."

ANHRI calls for the immediate investigation into the ban preventing the Baghdadiah TV station from covering the Ashura events and into the circumstances behind the arrest of Sabah Hasan in order to search for those involved in her torture and bring them to justice.

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