Sunday, May 23, 2004
An Iraqi technician from al-Jazeera television, Hamid Rashid Wali, was shot dead on the night of 20 May 2004 in Kerbala, during clashes between the United States (US) Army and Moqtada al-Sadr's Shiite militia, al-Jazeera said in Baghdad. To date, at least 27 journalists and media assistants have been killed in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003. Thirteen journalists and media assistants have been killed since 1 January 2004, including 11 Iraqis. Iraq can still be considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.
Al-Jazeera bureau chief Saad Ibrahim described how his technician was killed. "Half an hour after midnight, we had just finished filming live on the hotel roof when shots were aimed at our crew. Hamid Rashid Wali was hit in the head. He had worked with us for a long time and he arrived in Kerbala only two days earlier to relieve the previous crew," Ibrahim said. A journalist and cameraman were also on the roof at the time of the shooting.
In a separate incident, Fran Sevilla, a Spanish national and special correspondent for Spanish radio station RNE, has been detained for several hours at a mosque in Najaf, central Iraq. Sevilla, aged 44, is being held by a group close to the radical leader al-Sadr, the station reported.
Finally, US forces arrested al-Arabiya cameraman Hassan Karim on 20 May. Contacted by telephone in Dubai, a spokesperson for the station confirmed that Karim was still being held on 21 May. No official explanation was given to explain the cameraman's arrest in Baghdad's al-Baya'a district.