’10 most urgent cases’ of journalist killings await justice as UN observes International Day to End Impunity

In conjunction with the UN-recognized International Day to End Impunity on November 2, media organizations around the world including the One Free Press Coalition release this monthly “10 Most Urgent” list, which highlights the cases of murdered journalists around the world, where those responsible for the murder have still not been held accountable. There is impunity in 81% of journalist killings over the past 10 years, according to the 2021 Global Impunity Index from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), co-organizer of the November 2 People’s Court to indict journalists. governments of Sri Lanka and Mexico and Syria for failing to deliver justice in the killings of three journalists.

10 Most Urgent, November 2021

1. Roohollah Zam (Iran)

Iranian authorities executed journalist Zam by hanging in December 2020 after sentencing him to death on anti-state charges for his coverage of the 2017 protests. Intelligence agents from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have lured Zam out of exile to Iraq, where he was abducted in 2019, and taken to Iran.

2. Tara Singh Hayer (Canada)

Hayer, editor of Indo-Canadian Time, Canada’s largest and oldest Punjabi weekly, was gunned down in the garage of his Vancouver home in 1998. Ten years earlier, he had been partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair after an assassination attempt. In previous months, Hayer told police he had received multiple threats.

3. Valerio Luiz de Oliveira (Brazil)

The sports journalist and Radio Jornal commentator was killed in July 2012 after being shot four times by an unidentified gunman on a motorbike. The trials of the alleged perpetrators have been repeatedly delayed and have been adjourned in 2020, with no court date set.

4. Regina Martinez Perez (Mexico)

Martínez, veteran journalist at the national magazine Process, known for her in-depth reporting on drug cartels and ties between organized crime and government officials, was killed in 2012 after covering several high-profile arrests. A 2021 report by A Safer World For The Truth found strong indications of obstruction of justice by local authorities in his case.

5. Nikolai Andrushenko (Russia)

Veteran journalist Andrushchenko died in 2017 from injuries sustained in a beating by unknown assailants, and little progress has been made in the investigation. He was known for his criticism of President Vladimir Putin and his investigative reports alleging corruption and human rights abuses. He had suffered similar attacks in the past.

6. Sardasht Osman (Iraq)

Osman, a contributor to several independent news sites, was found shot dead in 2010. Prior to his murder, he had received threatening phone calls asking him to stop writing about the Kurdistan Regional Government. Authorities say he was killed by a member of the extremist group Ansar al-Islam; however, CPJ and other news groups said the report lacked credibility.

seven. Ahmed Hussein-Suale Divela (Ghana)

Divela, a member of investigative newspaper Tiger Eye Private Investigations, where he covered issues such as sports, corruption and human rights, was shot dead by two unidentified men on a motorbike in 2019. Divela had told the CPJ in 2018 that people had tried to attack him and that he feared for his life after a politician made comments about him on television.

8. Sisay Fida (Ethiopia)

Sisay, a coordinator and reporter for the Oromia Broadcasting Network, was on his way home from a wedding when he was shot and killed in May this year. There has been little progress in his case, and his colleagues believe he was murdered in retaliation for his reporting.

9. Gauri Lankesh (India)

Unidentified assailants shot and killed Lankesh outside her home in Bangalore in 2017 as she returned from work. Lankesh published and edited Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a weekly Kannada-language tabloid known for its criticism of right-wing and establishment extremism. Although people suspected of having links to his murder have been arrested, impunity remains.

ten. Sagal Osman Salad (Somalia)

A university student and producer of a children’s show on public radio Mogadishu, Osman was killed in 2016. She was leaving campus when three gunmen shot her in the head. Somalia ranks last among countries for impunity in cases of murdered journalists.

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