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STOCKHOLM - Skyline International today condemns the kidnapping of two journalists in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, during their work, and calls for their immediate release.

In  a  press release, Skyline states that it has testimonies indicating that the correspondent of the "Rudaw" channel " Halkawt Aziz ", and the cameraman "Khattab Ajami" were kidnapped while they were covering the burning of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Headquarter in Baghdad today, Saturday 17 October 2020.

According to a statement issued by the channel, seen by Skyline,  the two journalists Aziz and Ajami were kidnapped by "security forces", while the government made no comment on the incident, which is one of a long series of violations against journalists and freedom of the media in Iraq.

Violations against journalists in Iraq happen continuously, including unlawful and arbitrary detention, beatings, insults, confiscation of press equipment and threats, as well as to murder and the difficulty of obtaining information.

Skyline affirms that kidnapping journalists and endangering their lives gravely violate the freedom of media work. Thus, it calls on the Iraqi authorities to quickly reveal their fate and free them immediately, as protecting their lives and freedom of work is a governmental responsibility.

Skyline further stresses that the kidnapping is inconsistent with the provisions of the Iraqi Penal Code in Articles 430, 431 and 432, and what Article 38 of the Iraqi constitution states, which affirms the protection of public freedoms, including freedom of expression and media work.

"The Iraqi government is required to commit to its national and international obligations to combat and prosecute perpetrators, and to promote and protect journalists to exercise their required journalistic duties", said Skyline.  

Skyline warns again of the Iraq leaving perpetrators unaccountable for their assaults against journalists, so that impunity becomes a reason for persisting in committing more crimes against the elites of opinion and free speech. This requires protecting all media workers of all affiliations from any abuses.