Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi organization that monitors press freedom issues and the safety and rights of journalists in Iraq. The statement also expresses the organization's concern for another Iraqi journalist, Salam Duhi al-Sudani, who was abducted on May 9 and whose fate is unknown:
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) mourns our colleague 'Ali Khalil, correspondent and editor of the newspaper Az-Zaman International, who was assassinated on Sunday (May 20, 2007), after his abduction on the part of unknown armed men in the Shurta 4 area in Baghdad.
The father of Ali Khalil told the Journalists Freedom Observatory that unknown armed men in two cars blocked his son Ali’s car in the Shurta 4 area, forced him and his wife to get out of the car, and then proceeded to escort him and his car to an unknown area.
'Ali’s father contacted his son’s friends, and contacted members of the Journalists Freedoms Observatory, to inform them that his son had been abducted while he was in his company. An intense operation of searching and inquiries ensued, to try to save 'Ali. However, we were shocked when the Iraqi police found his body in the same area in which he had been abducted. His body showed several gunshot wounds in his head and back, and seemed also to bear marks from beating.
'Ali Khalil was 22 years old, and had finished his studies in the communications college two years ago, and he was married with one child, no more than seven days old. He published his last newspaper report bearing the title “MP calls for assassinations in militant organizations,” in which he reported the views of Iraqi parliamentarians who demanded the elimination of significant militants in the country.
'Ali’s colleagues praised him for his dynamism and his love of the profession, and said that 'Ali was committed to a high degree of professionalism in the performance of his duties which allowed him to preserve independence and impartiality in his work on national affairs.
Meanwhile, the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory continues to make inquiries about our colleague, the journalist Salam Duhi al-Sudani, who was abducted in the al-Latifiya area while he was en route to Karbala on the ninth of this month, according to his colleagues.
Salam Duhi al-Sudani is in his early 50s, and has presided over several daily and weekly newspapers, and he is a member of the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory continues to voice its demands that the Iraqi government and its security agencies open extensive investigations into all of the crimes of assassination that have targeted journalists, and the need to work quickly to search for abducted journalists. The JFO affirms that the ability of the perpetrators of these crimes to avoid punishment permits them to resume their targeting of other journalists.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory is an independent organization, headquartered in Baghdad, which is concerned with the defense of journalists and with press freedom. The Internet site of the Observatory is www.jfoiraq.org.
The article was translated by www.iraqslogger.com