Iraq’s Supreme Court has sentenced a man to death by hanging for killing two journalists covering anti-government protests in the southern city of Basra last year.
Ahmad Abdessamad, a 37-year-old correspondent for Al-Dijla TV station, and his cameraman Safaa Ghali, 26, were traveling to their hometown of Basra in January 2020 when another vehicle stopped and gunmen opened fire, hit the car with bullets.
The convict, identified only by the initials “HK”, had “confessed to all the crimes”, the court in Basra said in a statement on Monday.
The court said he had killed the two journalists “with the aim of destabilizing security, stability and intimidating people for terrorist purposes”.
He did not give further details if he had any connection to any other group.
The accused was arrested in early 2021 along with four other members of a “network of 16 people responsible for the assassinations”, said a security official at the time.
The decree authorizing his hanging has yet to be signed by Iraqi President Barham Salih. He has 30 days to appeal.
demonstrations erupted in October 2019 in Baghdad and across the Shiite-majority south of Iraq, opposing government corruption and job shortages.
Approximately 600 people died across the country and tens of thousands were injured in protest-related violence.
Dozens of activists have died or have been abducted since October 2019, in attacks carried out by men on motorcycles.
Iraqi human rights organizations have accused the government of failing to bring the killers to justice.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has repeatedly vowed to track down gunmen.
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