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Iraqi investigative team arrested, journalists assaulted

On July 17, 2013, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounced the continuing violations and abuses of media professionals and journalists in the Iraqi territories. Abuses being committed by the army, police or armed groups that answer to some political powers, are being committed while the authorities remain silent and the perpetrators are not held accountable.

At dawn on Friday July 12, forces affiliated to the Ministry of Interior laid siege to the building of the satellite channel Bagdadiah, in the Abu-Nawas area, in central Baghdad. The forces also arrested Emad El-Abady, anchor of the political TV program Sohour, and the program's crew and confiscated their mobile phones and press Ids. The station had broadcast an interview with Wathq El-Batat, the secretary general of Hizballah in Iraq and the commander of the Mokhtar army in Iraq, who revealed that he in direct contact with the Undersecretary to the former Minister of Interior, Adnan El-Asady.

The authorities said they were acting on an order to search the station and investigate the TV program's team.

In a separate incident, Kazem El-Mashrafi and Diaa El-Qatarni, who work for radio El-Merbed, were assaulted by security officers who are assigned to guard the Menawi Basha hotel in Basra City while covering an explosion that took place in the downtown area. The armed forces and people in the area were not able to immediately come to their assistance.

ANHRI condemned the two incidents as a serious violation of media freedom, that is taking place while the government remains silent.

ANHRI noted that the Iraqi government has not provided a suitable climate so that journalists and media professionals can safely perform their job without fear or restrictions. In addition, the authorities have not taken any action against the assailants, regardless of whether they are affiliated to the Iraqi authorities or persons belong to other political groups.

ANHRI demands that the authorities bring the assailants to a prompt trial and create a safe media environment.

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