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Iraq– Journalist and human rights defender Saad Zaghloul assassinated in Mosul

2013-10-09

With utmost sorrow and grief, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) received the news of the assassination of journalist and human rights defender Saad Zaghloul in the city of Mosul, Iraq this week.

On the morning of 8 October 2013, a group of unknown armed men opened fire and killed him in front of his house, which is located in Al-Qadisiyah district of Mosul.

With this brutal crime, the number of journalists who have been killed in Mosul since 2003 has reached 48 including 6 women journalists. The authorities have conducted no investigations into any of these killings, which have been perpetrated by "unknown" persons.

He worked at several independent local newspapers in the province of Mosul and was writing about topics including corruption, human rights and law reform. Zaghloul was a senior member of the Iraqi Association for Defending the Rights of Journalists which aims to support and protect Iraqi journalists. He stood up against all the violations committed against his fellow journalists in the city of Mosul.

The GCHR condemns in the strongest terms the assassination of Saad Zaghloul and believes it is solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate journalism and human rights work, in particular defending the civil and human rights of journalists and for his anti-corruption writing. 

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights urges the authorities in Iraq to:

1. Carry out an immediate, impartial and thorough investigation into the killing of Saad Zaghloul with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in line with local laws and international standards;

2. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of all human rights defenders and journalists in Iraq;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders and journalists in Iraq are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free from all restrictions including judicial harassment.

The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (c) “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters” and to Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”