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Journalists' lifves and future at risk over Iraqi court arrest warrant


November 22, 2016


The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) is expressing its concern over an arrest warrants issued against two Iraqi Journalists by a Court in Baghdad today.

JFO considered that involving journalists’ names into a complicated issue is an incitement to murder them besides placing them in a risky situation.


In the Iraqi Capital today, the Karrada Court has issued two warrants to arrest individually both of the Saudi newspaper “alSharq-alAwsat’s" correspondents over false news accusing Iranian visiting Iraq of sexually harassing local women during the “arbaieen” a Shiite Muslim pilgrimage that commemorates the 680 AD death of “Imam Hussein” and is one of the world's largest religious events, was peaking in the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala, later on two journalists Hamza Mustafa & a correspondent in Kurdistan submitted their resignation in protest after that fabricated story appeared to be published on the paper’s front page last Sunday titled; [a UN warning of " illegal " pregnancies in Karbala] which is according to the paper attributed to a source in the World Health Organization.


The article published quoted a purported the UN health agency spokesman as saying that after last year's pilgrimage more than 169 Iraqi women became pregnant out of wedlock, but the agency officially vehemently denied making any such assertion, which is what other correspondent Maad Fayad go for the same denial as he “has nothing to do with it”


In a photo copy of the two warrants that the JFO received, the court ordered "all judicial police on November 22nd to arrest Hamza Mustafa and Maad Fayad according to the penal code's article 372 on religious hate crimes”.



Journalist Hamza Mustafa has expressed on a phone call in his first reaction to the JFO “his resentment over the issuance of an arrest warrant against him especially since he announced his resignation in a protest status after using his name on that fabricated news”.


“Raising this sensitive case to the investigating court in Baghdad is completely against the law because the Publishing Court is the competent court to consider such calls” Said Amer al-Daami, JFO’s legal Counsel.



"The diagnosis of both journalists’ names did not appear in the published paper and thus enters the mentioned court into a case of murder incitement against the journalists because of the high sensitivity of the case specially it refers to a religious matter" the Counsel al-Daami added.



To be mentioned that the “alSharq alAwsat” newspaper started in Baghdad since 2003 with a special Iraq's edition issued, ten years later the Iraqi government have ordered to stop the newspaper in 2013 then returned to be printed as a local edition under the current Prime Minister “Haider al-Abadi”.



Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO), which strongly condemned the fabricated report which is posted last Sunday, calling on the Iraqi judiciary system to bear its responsibility in maintaining the safety of our colleagues, and calls for the Supreme Judicial Council to reconsider the case provided to transfer it to the competent court of publications.





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