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 Kirkuk become a hell for journalist

 Source : Nyaz Kirkuki
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Kirkuk become a hell for journalist  15.8.2008 
By Nyaz Kirkuki, USA

August 15, 2008

Soran mama hama A 23 years old murder in Kurdistan / Kirkuk ,who shot by unidentified gunmen in front of his house Monday night 7/21/2008 .

Soran, he was reporter with Levin magazine, and many other newspaper and he was member of CHAK (the center of halabja against anfalization and genocide of the Kurds).

He received threatening massages after his last article in Levin it was about the prevalence of prostitution in Kirkuk and in his article mention he had many names of police, security officers and executive they are partner and they are do in it us business, so he was murder about his last article.           

Nyaz Kikuki, USA

They want silent journalist and this is not the first time in Kirkuk or in Kurdistan, it been five years PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) and KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) leadership in Kirkuk every day getting worse ,they do not have any plan and they do not let any body lead it.

So Soran mama hama he will be not the last one and in the anther hand these journalist are not willing to stop quiet but they have faith one day that land be come land of freedom of speech.

Nyaz Kikuki was born in Kirkuk in 1976. He was a close associate of the late Soran Mama Hama. He is an independent observer and leads the US chapter of the CHAK (The Center of Halabja against Anfalization and Genocide of the Kurds). He also volunteers for other humanitarian organizations. website conducted the following interview with Nyaz Kikuki regarding the assassination of Soran Mam Hama.

Q: How did you know the late Soran Mama Hama?

Niyaz: I met Soran during the beginning months of the current year when I visited Kurdistan. I met the late Soran in Kirkuk a few times, and we had long discussions about the situation in Kirkuk after the removal of Saddamís regime. Kirkuk has turned to a center of the conflict among the Kurdish parties. The late Soran said, ďThere was only one Saddam previously, but now, there are hundreds who belong to the two leading parties. There is no government or law, and militias rule. The political parties have turned to embezzlement organizations though the reconstruction projects which they control.Ē

Soran was a very active member in our organization (CHAK). During my short stay in Kirkuk, the Kirkuk chapter of CHAK sponsored the commemoration of Anfal. That was the first time such an event takes place in Kirkuk, after the fall of Saddam, to remember the regretful campaign against the Kurds. And the CHAK organization took the lead in sponsoring this event, and the late Soran was supervising this event. He was involved in other activities. He published a newspaper called Nagrat Salman with help from other members of CHAK in Kirkuk.

Q: What was your impression on the personality of the martyred journalist?

Niyaz: Soran was independent and had not ties to any political parties. He was very prominent and well-known within the intellectual community of Kirkuk and Iraqi Kurdistan. He was very courageous, which can be noticed from his articles and reports. His last two articles were about President Massoud Barzani and moral corruption in Kirkuk. Before his assassination, there was another attempt on his life. An unknown individual had placed a bomb in the garbage bin outside of his office in Kirkuk, where worked as a reporter for Kurdistan Report newspaper, and the late Soran was injured after the blast.
In deed Soran was a leading reformist in Kirkuk, and his pen was serving democracy and justice for the various ethnic groups that live in Kirkuk.

Q: When was the last time you spoke with the late Soran, and what were the topics that you discussed?

Niyaz: The late communication I had with Soran was a week before his assassination. He wanted to conduct an interview with me about the American-Kurdish relations. He sent me a number of questions and needed my responses. He said he was going to submit more questions to me, but regretfully, it never happened because of the brutal assassination.

Q: Did he mention to you that he was being threatened by individuals who spoke Kurdish?

Niyaz: He did not mention anything about this issue. The late Soran was very serious about his statements and never mentioned anything of which he wasnít firmly sure. I believe he was threatened three days prior to the assassination, according to certain reports published in the press.

Q: Who do you think is responsible for this coward act?

Niyaz: The perpetrators have not been found yet, but two leading parties are responsible for this act because they control the security establishments in Kirkuk. They have yet to control the insecure situation in Kirkuk because they are busy with corruption.

The late Soran is not the only journalist was has been assassinated in Kirkuk. There have been other cases against journalists who spoke courageously about corruption within party officials in Kirkuk.

And I do not believe that Turkoman, Arabic or Islmamic groups or parties are responsible for this act because Soran never encouraged sectarianism or racism. In fact he always encouraged co-existence and reconciliation within the different ethnicities in Kirkuk.

Q: Do think those who are responsible for this act can paralyze the independent journalists to report on corruption?

Niyaz: On the contrary; I donít think so. These acts will encourage journalists to report more bravely on corruption within the two leading parties. After the assassination of Soran, other journalists received threats from unknown individuals, and perhaps from the same who threatened the late Soran. Some of those journalists are well-known. Therefore, we conclude that the struggle for democracy and modern ideas is continuing and has not been hindering by the assassination of the late Soran. If we look back, the Kurdish authorities have assassinated many journalists since the upraising in 1991 but they werenít able to hamper the free press. The world has turned flat and became a small village through internet communications. Many organizations have observed these acts, and the perpetuators can be found, not by the Kurdish parties, but by humanitarian organizations, if they receive support form the masses.

Q: Do you think the assassination of Soran was due to working for CHAK or the Levin magazine?

Niyaz: I donít think the reason ascribes to his affiliation with CHAK. Our organization is non-governmental and humanitarian. It is true that this organization wasnít respected by the Kurdish authorities for calling to expedite the Anfal trial against the murders the Kurdish Mustashars (Kurdish tribal leaders who were leading pro-Saddamist Kurdish fighters) who were involved in carrying Anafal against our people, and many of them are leading officials within the two leading parties. Our efforts in this regards were carried abroad due to the freer environment to work.

Regarding Levin, I canít speak for this magazine, but perhaps his articles and reports were the main reasons behind the assassination.

Q: Has an investigation started to find the perpetuators?

Niyaz: There are efforts. Many organizations and individuals have contacted international organizations and parliamentarians. The US has called the Kurdish authorities to investigate in this case. I have personally contacted a few Senators, the White House and Human Rights Watch. They all condemned this act, and a Senator said that he will contact the Kurdish authorities and will work to succeed democracy. I believe this case has become international, and many of the US press have openly talked about it.

Q: Do you think the Kurdish authorities were serious in their statement of condemnation of Soranís assassination?

Niyaz: I do not think the Kurdish Parliament or government have officially condemned this act. I believe that a few officials spoke about it, but it was not enough. Lives have become much unvalued and especially with the Kurdish government, despite the presence of the Human Rights Ministry within the KRG.

Last year, there was a blast in Kirkuk and as a result, more than 200 people lost their lives. The Kurdish TVs never covered this terrorist act extensively. They briefly mentioned it during their newscasts. Unlike the Kurdish TVs, the Western press covered this incident more extensively.

We have yet to see a minister visiting an incident site or visit the families of the victims.

You may reach the author via email at: nyazkirkuki (at)

The contents of this article reflect the author's personal opinions, and we accept no responsibility for the views or opinions expressed in the articles either direct or indirect.

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