Iraq: Iraq: Kurdish journalist Bakhtiar Haddad killed in Mosul by explosive device
Iraqi Kurdish journalist Bakhtiar Haddad died on 19 June 2017 after an explosive device went off in Mosul, injuring three French journalists at the same time. One of them, Stéphane Villeneuve, also died of his injuries, and another, Veronique Robert, is in critical condition. Freelance journalist Samuel Forey was also injured.
Haddad, who was on assignment with France 2 television, was covering Iraqi counter-terrorist operations in the Ras Al-Jadah district of old Mosul, in northern Iraq. The Iraqi forces were attacking Daesh when he was killed. He had previously been hurt by sniper fire in Iraq and been evacuated to France last year, but had returned to the country to resume his work. He worked for French media for many years.
Iraq is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and local journalists may not always receive the safety training that their international counterparts receive.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) expresses its condolences to the families of Haddad and Villeneuve, and calls for:
- An immediate investigation into the killing of Bakhtiar Haddad and Stéphane Villeneuve;
- Proper security training and protection to be offered to all journalists – foreign and local – working in conflict zones in Iraq and the region;
- Full respect for freedom of expression by all parties to the conflict; and
- Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders including journalists in Iraq are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.