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 The investigation committee says Iraqi Kurdish journalist killed by Islamic militants

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The investigation committee says Iraqi Kurdish journalist killed by Islamic militants  15.9.2010  

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September 15, 2010

ERBIL-Hewlęr, 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 said Wednesday.

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 Iraqi forces.                      

Kurdish journalist and student Sardasht Osman, killed in May after writing articles critical of the rule of Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani.
"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 him.

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 town.

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 to.”

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 Kurdish leaders.

"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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