10 March 2007
Press Freedom Alerts:
Latest press freedom news from the region

In Somaliland, Haatuf newspaper chairman Yusuf Abdi Gabobe, editor-in-chief Ali Abdi Dini and journalists Mohammed Omar Sheik and Mohammed Rashid Farah were sentenced by Hargeisa court on 4 March to jail terms ranging from 24 to 29 months. Farah was sentenced in absentia. The court fined the newspaper 5 million Somaliland shillings (800 US dollars) and revoked its licence.

Journalists killed

In Iraq, Mohan Hussein al-Dhahr, 49, editor of the daily al-Mishrak, was killed in a botched kidnap outside his home in the al-Jami'a district in the east of Baghdad on 4 March. The day before, the bullet-riddled body of journalist Jamal Riyah Al Zoubaidi, who worked for newspaper As-Safir was found in the Al 'amil district in south-east of the capital. He went missing after leaving the offices of his newspaper on 23 February. He is the 16th abducted journalist to have been killed since the start of the conflict in March 2003. These murders bring the total number of media personnel murdered in Iraq to 152.

Also in Iraq, police in the city of Kirkuk, 250 kilometres north of Baghdad, said that journalist Talal Hashim Birkdar, 50, had been snatched on 3 March by men wearing Iraqi Army uniforms. He ran the daily al Akhaa, the organ of the party of the same name representing Iraq's Turkmen minority.

In Syria, detained journalist and writer Michel Kilo was taken before a military prosecutor in Damascus on 6 March 2007 and accused of inciting fellow inmates in Adra prison, near Damascus, to sign the "Beirut-Damascus, Damascus-Beirut" joint statement, which he himself signed in May 2006 and for which he is being prosecuted by a criminal court.

Sources for the alerts:

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), France

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Brussels, Belgium

International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Canada