IFJ Calls for Protection After Death Threats to Journalist Campaigning for Women’s Rights in Iraq

The International Federation of Journalists today called on coalition forces in Iraq to provide protection to a journalist who is campaigning for women's rights in Iraq.

The IFJ says that credible threats have been made to Yanar Mohammed, head of the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq who publishes the Al Nisa magazine and runs the www.equalityiniraq.com website. She has been a leading campaigner through the magazine and website for equality for women.

"This colleague has come under attack because she is fighting for basic human rights," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It is urgent that she is giving full protection and that those who are putting her life at risk are exposed."

The IFJ has been informed by the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom about the case after Yanar received credible threats from Jaysh Al-Sahaba (Army of Sahaba) who are believed to have links to Al-Qaeda. The most recent email threatens to kill her within a few days. She has been warned that if she publishes the next edition of her Equality newsletter, due this week, she will be killed.

"We have asked the Federation of Arab Journalists and journalists' organisations in Iraq to take up this case," said White. "It is deplorable that a journalist should be subject to intimidation in this way."

Last month the IFJ, with the support of the NUJ carried out a mission to Iraq with the Federation of Arab Journalists and among the proposals arising out of the mission is a call for professional assistance to Iraqi journalists -- including support for gender rights in journalism and an equality programme in media.

"This is not just a vicious attack on a colleague it highlights the strength of opposition among some extremists to the notion of democracy, freedom and fundamental human rights for all," said White.

The IFJ has written to British and American authorities in Baghdad asking them to provide more protection to Yanar Mohammed.