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Government-backed militias killed comedian

Azzaman

Government-backed militias killed comedian

November 22, 2006

A militia group linked to the government is leading a campaign of intimidation and murder against reporters and employees of Azzaman and its sister media outlets.

On Monday, al-Shariqiya, the television network which is part of Azzaman Group, lost its star comedian who made Iraqis laugh at their corrupt politicians, the U.S. occupiers as well as the insurgents.

This murderous militia group is targeting Azzaman and its sister outlets as part of a campaign to forced them to leave the country.

Azzaman has lost numerous reporters and employees amid threats from government officials to close its television down.

The newspaper has reliable information that the comedian, whose program Caricature was watched by millions of Iraqis, was under surveillance for several days by these militias.

This militia group is spreading a reign of terror not only in Baghdad but in many other places in the country and now has orders from its leaders to silence Azzaman.

A day before Hassan was assassinated armed men from the same militia faction attacked two senior officials in al-Sharqiya with the aiming of having them kidnapped.

The attempt failed when these officialsĺ bodyguards confronted the kidnappers and forced them to flee.

They attacked Hashem on his way to work and wanted to kidnap him. He initially managed to flee, but the gunmen opened fire on him. Four bullets pierced his body and he died instantly.

Azzaman and al-Sharqiya are under threat. The group wrote to the minister of interior on November 14 asking for protection making it clear that the threats were serious.their

The ministry took no measures at all and instead it sent a police force to al-Sharqiya office in Baghdad. The force encircled the building and asked the employees to surrender.

No explanation was given for the move which resulted in the arrest of several employees.

Al-Sharqiya, which is now the most watched television in Iraq, vows not to yield to intimidation and the killing of Hassan will spur it to stick to its independence and editorial stance no matter what.



:: Article nr. 28482 sent on 23-nov-2006 21:18 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=28482

Link: www.azzaman.com/english/index.asp?fname=news%5C2006-11-22%5Ckurd1.htm



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