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UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing of Iraqi Journalists

UNESCO Chief Condemns Recent Assassination of Iraqi Journalists

New York, May 19 2005 10:00AM

Welcoming the news of arrests in connection with the brutal murder this week of two Iraqi journalists, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today reiterated his outrage at attacks against the media in the country, saying that whatever the punishment for the perpetrators “there can be no moral or ethical justification for their acts.”

Najem Abed Khodair, of the independent daily newspapers Al-Madaa and Tariq al-Shaab, and Ahmad Adam, a poet and writer who contributed to Al-Madaa and Sabah newspapers, had their throats slit on 15 May as they were travelling by road to their hometown of Kerbala, south of Baghdad. According to the Iraqi army, nine armed men suspected of carrying out the murders have been arrested.

“I condemn the bloody assassination…and I am outraged by their brutality,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said, adding: “The media play an essential role in empowering people to make informed choices and rebuild their country. Those who are carrying out these attacks on brave professionals committed to carrying out their duty cannot claim to be working for the people of Iraq.”

Mr. Matsuura said he welcomed news that the Iraqi army was able to arrest suspects in connection with the killing. “I hope that the culprits are brought to trial and punished. This will be an important step towards ending the attacks against media professionals in Iraq, which have reached an intolerable level.”


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