New York, April
27, 2009--The Committee to
Protect Journalists is closely following the imminent trial of two
suspects who have been charged with plotting to murder Ahmed Mira,
editor-in-chief of the Sulaymaniyah, Iraq-based magazine Livin.
Mira and his lawyer, Othman
Sidiq, told CPJ that investigations
have been completed and that two suspects
have been formally charged with planning to murder Mira. The first session of
the trial is due to start on April 29, according to local news reports.
The identities of
the suspects have not been made public, Mira told CPJ. He said that a third
suspect is still under investigation.
"We call on the
authorities to ensure that this trial is fair and public," said Mohamed Abdel
Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa
program coordinator. "It is vital that the trial is conducted properly and
transparently so that it can set a precedent for future legal proceedings
against others who have murdered journalists in Iraq."
In October 2008,
local media reported on the arrest of at least two individuals for allegedly plotting to kill
Mira. The editor-in-chief told CPJ that security forces, known as
him of the plot on September 16.
On July 21, Livin
reporter Soran Mama Hama,
23, was shot by unidentified gunmen in front of his house in Kirkuk, according to news reports
and CPJ interviews. Mama Hama had received threatening messages before the slaying, local
journalists told CPJ. He had written articles critical of local authorities, they said. Although the Kirkuk police launched an investigation after his
murder, nobody has been charged
with the killing.
According to CPJ
research, the arrest of the two accused plotters in the Mira case marks the first instance of suspects being charged with
plotting to kill a journalist
Since the 2003 invasion of the country, CPJ has recorded 138 killed journalists
of whom 88 were murdered.