Security forces arrested two journalists and attacked others while covering demonstrations in Basra province on Saturday evening.
The representative of the Iraqi Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Basra reported that the colleague (Issam Al Sudani), a correspondent for the Reuters agency was detained by SWAT forces for several hours, while he was at Abdul Karim Square near the governorate Diwan to cover the demonstration. Then he was led to the police station behind the Diwan building. Safa Al-Ghali, Dijlah cameraman, was arrested and released later, while performing his duties to cover the scene.
Fouad al-Hilfy, correspondent for W.tv in Basra, told the association that he had been verbally violated by members of the security forces; breaking parts of his camera, forcibly withdrawing him from the protest yard, whereas Shihab Ahmed, Basra Press correspondent, was left in a state of suffocation caused by direct tear gas exposure. He lost his conscious for 15 minutes, dragged by paramedics from the square of Abdul Karim, and transferred to a near clinic. Ahmed added that he was subjected to various kinds of verbal insults, before being targeted with a tear-gas canister thrown at his whereabouts.
Shihab Ahmed, was astonished at the unjustified attack carried out by the security forces against the journalists.
The Association for Press Freedom Advocacy in Iraq, strongly deplores the repression and direct targeting of media workers by security agents, and considers the direct targeting of journalists and the prevention of coverage to be a blatant violation of the Constitution and the law, especially that the security forces have acted under orders issued by their seniors, as the video showing the breaking of wtv camera by a soldier was carried out in front of the officer at the demonstration site.
The association holds prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces the responsibility for this breach, as well as the safety of all journalists performing their duties and transmitting what is happening in Basra. It calls on him to investigate into the incidents in which a group of journalists was injured, as well as the detention of two of them, by the security forces stationed there.
the association also calls on international organizations involved in the rescue of journalists in Basra from the domination imposed by the security authorities to hold all seniors involved accountable especially that the assault was conducted under direct orders.