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Iraqi reporter who criticized government shot dead

AP News
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Posted: Sep 08, 2011 3:08 PM
Iraqi reporter who criticized government shot dead

An Iraqi journalist who criticized the country's government and was claimed he was abused by the Iraqi army for protesting shoddy services was shot to death Thursday, police said.

Hadi al-Mehdi, 30, had a weekly program on a Baghdad radio channel on which he called on the government to provide better water, electricity and other public services. He also used Facebook to organize demonstrations every Friday in Baghdad.

A city police officer says al-Mehdi was shot Thursday evening by gunmen using silenced pistols in the capital's mostly Shiite neighborhood of al-Jidida. His death was confirmed by a medic at Ibn al-Nafis hospital.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Al-Mehdi was one of four Iraqi journalists who said they were abducted by Iraqi Army soldiers after an anti-government demonstration as part of protests across Iraq on Feb. 25, billed as the "Day of Rage."

In an Associated Press interview in March, al-Mahdi said he and the others were taken from a Baghdad restaurant after the protest and brought to an Iraqi military building. He said he was blindfolded, doused in water and subjected to electric shock while music played in the background. He was released after days in captivity.

The journalists said the soldiers wanted them to admit to being Baathists, members of the ruling party that ran Iraq under Saddam. All denied any connection to terrorists or Saddam's regime.

The Committee to Protest Journalists says 150 journalists have been killed in Iraq since 1992, making it the world's most dangerous country for journalists.