Iraq: Iraqi Kurdistan: Two journalists and their young son gunned down in Sulaimaniya

17.10.19

Two journalists and their child were gunned down in their car in Iraqi Kurdistan, on 16 October 2019, according to the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR).

GCHR received reports that passers-by found the bodies of journalist Amanj Babany, 40 years old, his wife, journalist Lana Mohammady, 29 years old, and their three-year-old baby boy Hano, in their car, which was parked in front of the Shahrazur garage in Sulaimaniya.

Babany presented "No Frontiers" on NRT TV Channel, while Mohammady had been a presenter for several years at Kurdsat TV Channel. They were found after 9 pm on Wednesday night and local citizens took them to the Chara Teaching Hospital. Eyewitnesses said gunmen fired live bullets at the car, which showed signs of the gunfire, killing the family.

On 17 October 2019, the police chief of Sulaimaniya Governorate, Brigadier General Aso Taha, held a press conference in which he announced that Babany had fired a pistol found in the car, killing his wife first, followed by his son and then killed himself. He described the incident as a "suicide". His account contradicts eyewitness reports of gunmen.

“The Kurdistan regional Government should immediately initiate a fair investigation into this killing after the formation of a panel of independent experts to reach the full truth,” Rahman Gharib, President of Metro Center for Journalists' Rights and Advocacy, told GCHR.

GCHR expresses its shock at hearing the news of the death of Namang Babany, Lana Mohammady and their child Hano, and sends its sincere condolences to their families and friends. GCHR further calls on the Kurdistan Regional Government to immediately begin a thorough and impartial investigation into the deaths of the two journalists and their child. Finally, GCHR calls on the authorities to provide journalists with the necessary protection to carry out their important work in a healthy environment and to show respect for public freedoms, including freedom of the press.