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Iraq journalists covering protests threatened with death 

September 22, 2020 at 8:09 am

Iraqi demonstrators gather for the anti-government protest at Al-Khulani Square in Baghdad, Iraq on 29 February, 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

A number of Iraqi journalists revealed that they had received death threats following their coverage of the protests against ruling Shia parties in the country, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported yesterday.

Journalist Zaid Al-Fatlawi, from Al-Diwaniyeh governorate, said that he had received death threats from a “powerful armed militia”, which accused him of covering the protests.

The militia told him that his coverage was unacceptable and sent three armed men to his office.

Speaking to the Arabic news site, Al-Fatlawi said: “The armed men started questioning me. They asked about my movements and my house in order to monitor me and reach me. They threatened my life before they left.”

After these threats, Al-Fatlawi was forced to leave his house and relocated to the Kurdish area of the country, fearing for his family’s lives and his own. He said the group threatened him as an “apostate”.

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Journalist Karrar Al-Assaf, from the governorate of Al-Najaf, said that an armed group had threatened to kill him because he worked for a local Iraqi TV channel which “did not respect the Shia rituals”.

Al-Assaf said that the armed group set fire in the station’s headquarters and it is coming after its employees. As a result, he has relocated to another governorate.

“While I was away, I received a phone call from a leader of the armed group who asked me to return to my house on condition of resigning from my work at Dijla TV and apologising to the Shia for abusing them and their beliefs,” Al-Assaf said.

He added that he was also asked to issue a statement thanking Shia groups for protecting the people from Daesh.

A number of Iraqi journalists have been assassinated recently, including Reham Yacoub, Hisham Al-Hashimi and Tahseen Osama.