Infos zur Verschleppung Gulshan Al Bayati [Home]

Reporters Without Borders
Press release, 18 October 2006

Tikrit-based reporter released provisionally, banned from leaving country

Reporters Without Borders voiced relief today on learning that Tikrit-based journalist Kalshan [Gulshan] Al-Bayati, who writes for the Arab-language daily Al Hayat, was provisionally released yesterday after being held illegally for a month by Iraqi security authorities. She is still being investigated in connection with her relations with armed groups.

“Her rights were not respected while she was held,” the press freedom organisation said. “She was not allowed to see a lawyer or receive visits from her relatives. It was impossible to get any news of her or to know if she was being treated properly. All this
was very worrying.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “As long as the investigation continues, she risks being arrested yet again at any time. We call on the competent authorities to drop the charges against her or to produce hard evidence of her guilt.”

Bayati has been banned from leaving the country until further notice, and her ID papers and passport have been confiscated.

Al Hayat’s correspondent in Tikrit, Bayati is known for criticising the US occupation of Iraq in her articles. The Iraqi security forces first arrested her on 11 September, confiscating her computer.

She was freed two days later after being interrogated at length about her links with armed groups. Her response was that it was her job as a journalist to maintain contacts with many kinds of people including members of the military, Iraqi police officers, and members of resistance groups.

When released for the first time, she was ordered to remain at home and make no public statements. She nonetheless asked to speak with the head of the security forces in Tikrit to inform him of her arrest and the conditions in which she had been held.

On 20 September, five days after she was freed, Bayati was summoned to “Saddam’s Palace” in Tikrit – now the headquarters of the security forces based in the city – to recover her confiscated computer equipment. That was when she was re-arrested.