Monday, October 15, 2007

Salih Saif Aldin, Washington Post Journalist Killed

Reporter For Post Is Fatally Shot In Baghdad

By Joshua Partlow and Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, October 15, 2007; Page A01

BAGHDAD, Oct. 14 -- On Sunday afternoon, Salih Saif Aldin set out for one of Baghdad's most dangerous neighborhoods. He knew exactly where to go. He nodded, smiled, grabbed his camera. There was nothing he needed to say.

Saif Aldin always came back -- from death threats, from beatings, from kidnappings, from detentions by American soldiers, from the country's most notorious and deadly terrain -- but on Sunday he didn't. The 32-year-old Iraqi reporter in The Washington Post's Baghdad bureau was shot once in the forehead in the southwestern neighborhood of Sadiyah. He was the latest in a long line of reporters, most of them Iraqis, to be killed while covering the Iraq war. He was the first for The Washington Post.

"The death of Salih Saif Aldin in the service of our readers is a tragedy for everyone at The Washington Post. He was a brave and valuable reporter who contributed much to our coverage of Iraq," said Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Post. "We are in his debt. We grieve with his family, friends, fellow journalists and everyone in our Baghdad bureau."

In 2005, he received a note threatening his life if he did not quit journalism and leave Tikrit. He refused. "This is my city, and I'm a journalist," he told colleagues.

In July of that year, he was attacked by two men, who beat him with a metal pipe and the butt of a pistol. He had bruises all over his body and a gash on his head that required eight stitches.

In January 2006, Saif Aldin reported a story accusing Tikriti officials of looting a former palace of Saddam Hussein's. Word circulated of a $50,000 bounty on Saif Aldin's head.

Saif Aldin later moved to Baghdad, where he repeatedly braved the city's most dangerous neighborhoods, often traveling alone. For security reasons, he sometimes wrote under a tribal name, Salih Dehema. But otherwise, he was always off to the next challenge: He met with commanders of the Mahdi Army and leaders of Sunni insurgent groups. He drove south of Baghdad, to what is known as the Triangle of Death, to interview neighbors of a 14-year-old girl who had been raped and killed by American soldiers. Perhaps more than anyone at the newspaper, his work provided a window into the motivations and methods of those responsible for Iraq's violence, in its many complicated guises.

Emphasis mine.

Read the whole story here.

(h/t Carolyn Kay from Make Them Accountable.)

At least 118 journalists have been killed in Iraq while on duty, nearly 100 of whom were Iraqis. -Committee to Protect Journalists. (link) (While you are they you can contribute to CPJ)

Salih Saif Aldin, a hero for journalism. I'm sure that the right will figure out some way to attack Aldin or the Post. Suggesting the death of journalists is a regular thing for certain people on the right. It gets them invited onto tv and radio shows to talk to people who call themselves journalists.