Freedom group 'horror-struck' by latest murders in Iraq

By Jon Slattery

Press freedom campaign group Reporters Without Borders has expressed
shock at the gruesome murders of two Iraqi journalists, whose throats
were reportedly cut by armed men while they were headed toward the holy
city of Kerbala, south of Baghdad.

“We are horror-struck by these murders, we share the grief of the victims’

families and we extend them our full sympathy,” RWB said, adding, “there is no justification for such barbarity”.

The
organisation said the murders brought the number of journalists and
media assistants killed in Iraq since the start of the year to 11,
almost half the total number of press victims in 2004.

The two
latest victims were Najem Abed Khodair, who worked for the independent
daily newspapers Al- Madaa and Tariq al-Shaab, and Ahmad Adam, a poet
and writer who used to contribute to Al-Madaa and Sabah, another
newspaper. Launched after the start of the war, Al-Madaa concentrates
on political news.

Agency France-Presse quoted an Iraqi army
officer as saying that the two journalists were heading towards Kerbala
when they were intercepted near Latifiyah by armed men, who took them
to the roadside and cut their throats.

Nine men suspected of carrying out the murders have been arrested.

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