The investigation committee says Iraqi
Kurdish journalist killed by Islamic militants
Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — A Kurdish journalist
killed in May after writing a
scathing article about the alleged corruption of
Kurdish leaders was murdered by militants,
authorities in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region
Sardasht Osman, 22, was kidnapped outside his
university in the regional capital of Erbil on May
4, and his corpse was found a day later in the
restive northern city of Mosul with a single bullet
to the head.
He was killed after writing articles critical of the
rule of Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani, and
international press watchdog Reporters Without
Borders (RSF) said at the time that his family and
friends were "convinced" his murder was linked to
his work as a journalist.
But a committee formed by Barzani to investigate
Osman's death alleged on Wednesday that Osman was
"tied" to Ansar al-Islam, a Sunni-Kurdish extremist
group that has claimed attacks against American and
Kurdish journalist and student Sardasht Osman, killed in May after writing articles
critical of the rule of Kurdistan president Massoud
"Sardasht Osman was
killed by terrorists because he had promised to work
with them and then decided not to," the committee
said, without giving details on what work he had
allegedly pledged to carry out.
According to the committee’s
statement, Hisham Mahmud Ismail,
28, originally a Kurd from Mosul, who works as a car
mechanic in the town of Beji—in the Salahaddin
province-- was arrested with the cooperation of the
police forces in Beji.
It said it had arrested the man who kidnapped Osman,
28-year-old Hisham Mahmud Ismail, saying he was a
member of Ansar al-Islam. The committee said Ismail
snatched Osman and then handed him over to other
members of the armed group, who eventually killed
Ismael admitted “his crime” saying he was ordered by
a leader in the Ansar al-Islam group to go to
Shargat town where Osman whose hands and feet were
bound was handed over to him in the trunk of a car,
the investigation committee said.
Ismael, accompanied by another member of the
militant group later took Osman, who was still
alive, to Mosul and handed him over to the Ansar
al-Islam leader in the Intisar neighborhood of the
Ismael told the investigators that Osman was killed
afterwards by the militant group “because he had
promised to do some work for the group but failed
Osman, a final-year English student at Salaheddin
University in Erbil, worked as a journalist for the
magazine Ashtiname ("Letter for Peace" in Kurdish)
and as an English-Kurdish translator.
RSF said he also wrote articles for a variety of
other Kurdish publications.
In one of Osman's most critical articles, titled "I
love the daughter of Massoud Barzani"
and published in the Kurdistan Post, he used an
imaginary dream to condemn the alleged corruption of
"When I become the son-in-law of Barzani, the
wedding night will be in Paris and we will visit the
palace of our uncle for several days in the United
States," he wrote.
"We will leave our poor neighbourhood in Erbil to go
to live in beautiful quarters and I will be
protected at night by American sniffer dogs and
Israeli guards," he continued,www.ekurd.netdrawing
a provocative contrast between Barzani's opulent
lifestyle and that of ordinary Kurds.
RSF said last week that the Iraq conflict has been
the deadliest for the media since World War II, and
in October ranked Iraq a lowly 145th place for media
freedom out of 175 countries.
And according to the "Impunity Index" released in
April by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Iraq
has the worst record of any country for solving the
murder of reporters.
The official statement from
the special Investigating Committee
of the murdered student (Sardasht Othman)
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