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Urgent Info on Iraq

Dear All,

I’ve just learned that in Iraq especially in Baghdad people are going house to house to find anyone who has worked in the past with foreigners – any foreigners including ever having worked with journalists. There is a concentrated, systematic effort to question all those of working age if they ever worked with foreigners. Also if they are not kidnapped (and the ransoms now are very high 50 – 80,000 USD) they will be killed and often they will be killed anyway. The translator I and other journalists/photographers worked with in Iraq from 2003 – 2005 told me that four people he knew were kidnapped and later killed, despite one of the families coming up with the ransom money. It is urgent that you let other photographers and journalists know of this development. Of course kidnapping is not a new event but this is now a systematic house to house search. I am working on getting the tranlator/driver who worked with me and other journalists in Iraq some way out of the country – also any advice on this end would be greatly greatly appreciated. Also if you know of any organizations worldwide who exist for the protection of those who have worked with journalists (especially now that former drivers and translators are now working journalists and endangered) it would be of great help. Any advice….please

Thanks for any input at all!

Sheryl

by [a former member] at 2006-06-25 19:26:19 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Damascus , Syria | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Thanks, Sheryl. Have passed it on to our Foreign Desk people.

by [former member] | 25 Jun 2006 19:06 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Sheryl,
where do you get this information from? i haven’t heard about it before, but it is a very disconcerting development and i would certainly want to get in touch with a few people if this is true.
thanks,
j

by [former member] | 25 Jun 2006 21:06 | Copenhagen, Denmark | | Report spam→
Sheryl,
where do you get this information from? i haven’t heard about it before, but it is a very disconcerting development and i would certainly want to get in touch with a few people if this is true.
thanks,
j

by [former member] | 25 Jun 2006 21:06 | Copenhagen, Denmark | | Report spam→
Sheryl,
where do you get this information from? i haven’t heard about it before, but it is a very disconcerting development and i would certainly want to get in touch with a few people if this is true.
thanks,
j

by [former member] | 25 Jun 2006 23:06 | Copenhagen, Denmark | | Report spam→
Will forward this email to the people I know there. Thanks Sheryl for the info, one cannot be too safe with Iraq thoses days. K

by Karim Ben Khelifa | 26 Jun 2006 05:06 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Will forward this email to the people I know there. Thanks Sheryl for the info, one cannot be too safe with Iraq thoses days. K

by Karim Ben Khelifa | 26 Jun 2006 05:06 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Thanks for posting this Sheryl. On my last trip to Baghdad, every regular Iraqi I met was somehow touched by ransom kidnappings. They don’t get the press they deserve, and are blatently overshadowed by the kidnappings of Westerners.

If an amnesty organization doesn’t exist for Iraqis that assist journalists, one should be started.

Dave

by David Honl | 26 Jun 2006 07:06 | Istanbul, Turkey | | Report spam→
Yea, I have heard this before as well. It has been covered a few times by the, I believe, NYT and by Times. I think it was also briefly mentioned in an PBS Frontline docu a few months ago on Iraq.

by Js | 26 Jun 2006 09:06 | | Report spam→
Hey guys,
I just left Iraq and tried in vain to get some of the Army’s terps out. Unfortunately its next to impossible. Why? Because they fall between to very small cracks in the amnesty visa issue. Namely, they’re not being persecuted for their political beliefs (despite some of them working as terps because they want to make Iraq safer) nor are they persecuted for their religious beliefs.

I know a few who have left because of family connections in Western countries like Canada, Australia and even the US.

Sucks to say this but…

by Bill Putnam | 26 Jun 2006 15:06 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Sheryl (and David and Bill),

Have you contacted the Committee to Protect Journalists (cpj.org)? I"m sure that they would be interested and try to provide some coverage …

- Neil

by Neil Harris | 26 Jun 2006 16:06 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Neil,
I’ve looked into every conceivable connection. Nadda. I’ll look into this one though. Thanks.

Bill.

by Bill Putnam | 26 Jun 2006 18:06 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Dear all,

Many thanks for your input am now contacting various ngo’s, unhcr, cpj etc. There of course was kidnapping etc. for quite some time but now my friend and translator in Baghdad has several friends kidnapped and killed who worked with journalists in last few weeks and there are people going door to door. Sheryl

by [former member] | 26 Jun 2006 19:06 | Damascus, Syria | | Report spam→
FYI

Dear all,

I received this reply from UNHCR in Amman, Jordan.

Sheryl

Dear Ms. Sheryl Mendez,

Thank you for your email. Please note, that as of March 2003, we are
offering protection from deportation to Iraqis registered at our office
in BO Amman.

If the journalist would like to register with our office, he may come
from 8am-10am Sundays through Wednesday’s and take an appointment. The
Journalist will be asked to come on the designated apointment date with
the whole family members for registration. During that time, the
journalist will be briefly seen by a lawyer from our protection Unit.

Please note that the protection card which he will receive is not a
residency nor a work permit in Jordan.

The journalist may contact us on + 962 (6) 5502030, for more
information.

Many Thanks,
UNHCR
Protection Unit
BO Amman, Jordan.

by [former member] | 26 Jun 2006 19:06 | Damascus, Syria | | Report spam→
Dear all – I rec’d this reply from UNHCR

Sheryl

Dear Ms. Sheryl Mendez,

Thank you for your email. Please note, that as of March 2003, we are
offering protection from deportation to Iraqis registered at our office
in BO Amman.

If the journalist would like to register with our office, he may come
from 8am-10am Sundays through Wednesday’s and take an appointment. The
Journalist will be asked to come on the designated apointment date with
the whole family members for registration. During that time, the
journalist will be briefly seen by a lawyer from our protection Unit.

Please note that the protection card which he will receive is not a
residency nor a work permit in Jordan.

The journalist may contact us on + 962 (6) 5502030, for more
information.

Many Thanks,
UNHCR
Protection Unit
BO Amman, Jordan.

by [former member] | 26 Jun 2006 19:06 | Damascus, Syria | | Report spam→
I forwarded this to a french friend, and just got a response :

“My intel goes in the same direction as Sheryl’s. The fixer i worked with in 2004, Majid, was killed at home by an armed group 2 or 3 months ago, 30 bullets in his body… He worked with the press. The other one, whom i worked with in 2005 left Bagdad for Syria because he was scared for himself and his family”.

by [former member] | 27 Jun 2006 08:06 | lausanne, Switzerland | | Report spam→

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Participants

Karim Ben Khelifa, Photojournalist Karim Ben Khelifa
Photojournalist
[undisclosed location].
David Honl, photographer David Honl
photographer
Bali , Indonesia
Js, Js
Oslo , Norway
Bill Putnam, Producer. Bill Putnam
Producer.
(Video-Photo)
Washington, D.C. , United States
Neil Harris, Associate Photo Editor Neil Harris
Associate Photo Editor
New York City , United States


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