Journalists Killed  |  Iraq

Sarwa Abdul-Wahab

freelance

May 4, 2008, in Mosul, Iraq

Abdul-Wahab, 36, a freelance journalist and contributor to the Muraslon news site, was shot and killed while resisting abduction in the Al-Bakr area of Mosul.

"We were going shopping when two men in a white car stopped and asked my daughter to get in the car, and when she refused, they started dragging and forcing her to ride in the car," said Amira Wasfi, the journalist's mother. "I was screaming and shouting to leave her alone. They hit me on my head with the end of a machine gun and I fell on the street." When Abdul-Wahab resisted, the men shot her in the leg and then in the head, the mother said. "The neighbors were there watching, but nobody helped me save my daughter," Wasfi said.

A few weeks prior to the killing, Abdul-Wahab received a threatening phone call from a group calling itself the "Islamic State of Iraq" asking her "to quit her activities or else," according to Muraslon Editor-in-Chief Mohamed al-Jebori, whom she had told about the threats.

Abdul-Wahab, who for safety reasons wrote under the pen name Sarwa Darweesh, published critical articles about Iraqi insurgent groups. In an April 24 story on Muraslon's Web site, she discussed efforts by insurgents to intimidate drivers working for a cement factory in Mosul.

An April 26 piece called on the people of Mosul to "collaborate with the Iraqi forces to get rid of the terrorists so that the rebuilding of Mosul will take place." In that report, she said "the so-called Islamic State of Iraq" was responsible for the destruction of Mosul.

Yasir al-Hamadani, head of the Mosul branch of the Iraqi Association for Journalists' Rights, said Abdul-Wahab was a member, The Associated Press reported. Abdul-Wahab's friends and colleagues said she had recently traveled to Jordan for a government-sponsored training conference for journalists covering upcoming Iraqi elections.

Ibrahim al-Saraj, head of the Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association, told CPJ that Abdul-Wahab had reported to him that she had received threatening phone calls two weeks before she was killed, warning her to quit her job "or else." He and al-Jebori said they had each advised Abdul-Wahab to leave Mosul.


Medium: Internet

Job: Internet Reporter

Beats Covered: Politics, War

Gender: Female

Local or Foreign: Local

Freelance: Yes

Type of Death: Murder

Suspected Source of Fire: Unknown Fire

Impunity: Yes

Taken Captive: No

Tortured: No

Threatened: Yes


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