Wedat Hussein Ali. Photo: Rojnews.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A Kurdish journalist with reported ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was found dead on Saturday in the Kurdistan Region’s city of Duhok.
“Today, Wedat Hussein Ali, our reporter from RojNews News Agency, was kidnapped by some unidentified persons in the Malta neighborhood in Duhok. A few hours later his dead body was found on the Semel-Duhok road,” read an announcement from the news agency.
According to preliminary investigations Ali, 28, was tortured to death, RojNews said.
RojNews has ties with the PKK.
Duhok police confirmed that an investigation is ongoing.
“[Ali] is from Duhok and 28 years old. On the main Duhok-Semel road he was stopped and beaten. He was rushed to the hospital and died later,” Hemin Atroushi, media officer for Duhok Police, told Rudaw.
Atroushi added that “At the morgue, we have started an investigation into the killing of this young man.”
Safety of journalists is a concern in the Kurdistan Region. While attacks on journalists are condemned publicly, the lack of concrete action in the form of protecting and supporting journalists by the authorities means that such attacks continue with impunity, according to the Metro Center, a media rights organization based in the Kurdistan Region and monitoring freedom of the press in the region, in their annual review of 2015.
The Metro Center documented the violations of the rights of 145 journalists in 2015, up from 107 the year before. The violations include beatings, intimidation, arbitrary detention, and murder.