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Iraq: GCHR Grieves over shocking death of friend and supporter, Jacky Sutton

2015-10-19

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is shocked to hear about the sudden death of our honest friend and supporter, Jacky Sutton, country director of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) in Iraq.

Reports confirm that on 17 October 2015, Sutton, 50 years old, was found dead at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul amid unclear circumstances. She was on her way from London to Erbil, a city based in the Iraqi region of Kurdistan, and had apparently missed her flight.

Sutton was a friend of the GCHR and supported our work in Iraq. She was supposed to take part in a joint workshop that we intend to hold in Baghdad in the near future.

At the end of June, Sutton was appointed as the IWPR’s Country Director in Iraq after the death of former director, prominent human rights defender Ammar Shahbander, who was killed in a terrorist attack on 2 May 2015.

She worked as a reporter with BBC World Service in 1998-2000. She also worked for the United Nations in Afghanistan, Iran, West Africa, Gaza and in Iraq in 2008. She also worked as the country director for IREX in Iraq.

Khalid Ibrahim, Co-Director of the GCHR, said, “I feel very sad for the loss of this wonderful woman, who put endless efforts to support freedom of expression in Iraq.” He added, “Let her soul rest in peace.”

While the GCHR sends out its sincere condolences to Sutton’s family and friends, it calls on the Turkish government to immediately start an impartial and thorough investigation according to international standards into the circumstances of her death.