Iraq to announce result of investigation into death of Basra journalists

Ahmed Abdul Samad and Safaa Ghali were shot dead on Friday for covering government crackdown on protests

Iraqis take part in a rally on January 11, 2020, to mourn two reporters (image) shot dead the previous evening in the country's southern city of Basra, where they had been covering months of anti-government protests.  Ahmad Abdessamad, a correspondent for local television station Al-Dijla, and his cameraman Safaa Ghali were shot dead late yesterday, according to a statement from the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO). 
  / AFP / Hussein FALEH
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The results of an inquiry launched in to the assassination of two journalists in the southern Iraqi city of Basra will be made public soon, the country's state news agency said on Monday.

Iraq’s Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) said Ahmed Abdul Samad, a 39-year-old correspondent for local television station Al Dijla, along with his cameraman Safaa Ghali, 26, were shot dead on Friday.

The two were covering the government crackdown on the country’s mass protests, documenting the arrests of anti-government demonstrators in Basra.

The government has not specified when the final inquiry results will be announced.

"Armed men attacked them and sprayed them with bullets on Friday night, which killed Abdul Samad. His cameraman was taken to the city hospital, where he died," the JFO said in a statement.

For three months, Iraq has been rocked by anti-government protests that blame the political elite of corruption and failing to provide basic public services and employment.

Hundreds of people have been killed since the protests started and tens of thousands injured due to the government's violent response.

Many Iraqis languish in poverty without jobs, health care or education and the government has done little to address the demands of protesters.

Mr Abdul Samad and Mr Ghali's death sparked outrage across the country.

Iraq's High Commission for Human Rights (IHCR) condemned their assassination and requested for the release of all detained demonstrators in Basra.

"The Commission affirms that these actions are a flagrant violation of the right to life, security, safety, freedom of opinion and expression, calling on the government and security forces to pursue criminals and bring them to justice," a statement by the commission said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CJP) called on the Iraqi government to investigate their death and hold those responsible to account.

“No journalist should have to fear for their safety or be singled out for attack over their coverage of protests,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado said in a statement.

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