South Kurdistan journalist Kawa Garmyani was shot dead outside his house in Kalar last night. Three days ago Kawa had announced on his Facebook page that he had documents relating to a corruption case that he was planning to write about in ‘Rayal’ magazine. Kawa was the editor of ‘Rayal’ and a correspondent for ‘Awene’ newspaper, whose editor Asos Hardi last night described the killing as a “grave political crime”.
Kawa had been involved in disputes with local Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leaders because of his investigative reporting and recently he registered a complaint with Garmyan police against one PUK official. Previously he had appeared in court for publishing the photo of an official in a report on corruption.
Following the murders of Sorrani Mama Hama in 2008 and Sardasht Osman in May 2010, this is another stark example of the dangers facing independent journalists in the region.
Shaswar Abdulwahi, owner of the independent NRT TV, survived an assassination attempt last month and is still recovering.
Born in 1982, Kawa Garmyani was last night killed in front of his mother by a hail of bullets.
Reporters Without Borders statement:
Reporters Without Borders today issued a statement about the murder:
“We are appalled by Germyani’s murder and offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and colleagues.
“A professional journalist who covered corruption and nepotism in Iraqi Kurdistan, Germyani knew he was in danger and had told the region’s authorities about the threats he had received. His murder could have been avoided if they had taken the necessary measures to protect him.
“We are worried about the very dangerous climate for journalists both in Iraqi Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq, and about the impunity enjoyed by their attackers and killers. We urge the regional and national authorities to take the appropriate measures so that journalists can work without fearing for their safety or their lives.
Reporters Without Borders added: “Both the authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan and the central government in Baghdad should be conducting thorough investigations into the murders of journalists and the groups that target them.”
“According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, Germyani had been threatened for years in connection with his revelations about corruption within Kurdish institutions and had initiated several judicial proceedings against those responsible these threats.
“Coincidentally, many Kurdish journalists and civil society representatives had gathered in Sulaymaniyah two days before his murder to press the regional and national authorities to adopt laws guaranteeing media freedom, as well as effective measures to protect journalists and combat impunity for those responsible for violence against them”.