Iraqi reporter’s home searched after he exposes corruption
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled to learn that a judge in Basra, in southern Iraq, ordered I News investigative reporter Hassan Sabah’s arrest this week on spurious grounds after he exposed a case of alleged corruption involving another Basra judge.
Police swooped on Sabah’s home on the evening of 23 July with the aim of arresting him and taking him to a police station. After discovering that he was not there, they carried out a search of his home.
Sabah posted video footage of the police raid on Facebook and, in a separate post, explained that a judge ordered it after Sabah posted a report about the use of public funds to buy property for another Basra judge.
Sabah added that, after several attempts, he had learned that the grounds used for the raid was the complaint that a state-owned airport taxi company had filed against him back in February 2018.
“The judicial proceedings initiated against Hassan Sabah are intolerable and are clearly motivated by his investigative reporting,” RSF’s Middle East desk said. “The 18-month-old complaint was manifestly a fanciful pretext for intimidating a journalist who has just exposed a corruption case.”
When contacted by RSF, Sabah said he had barricaded access to his home to prevent it being ransacked during the coming days by militias linked to political parties.
Iraq is ranked 156th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.