Reporters Without Borders

Spanish judge to go to Baghdad to investigate cameraman's death in 2003

Spanish judge to go to Baghdad to investigate cameraman’s death in 2003

Published on Wednesday 15 September 2010. Updated on Thursday 16 September 2010.
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Reporters Without Borders hails a decision by Spain’s judicial oversight council, the CGPJ, to allow National Court judge Santiago Pedraz to go to Baghdad to examine the site where Spanish cameraman José Couso of the Telecinco channel was killed in 2003. Every possible light must be shone on the case so that justice can be done.

Couso and Reuters reporter Taras Protsyuk, a Ukrainian, were killed when the Baghdad hotel where they and many other foreign journalists were staying was shelled by a US tank on 8 April 2003.

This week’s decision comes five weeks after the National Court issued new international warrants on 29 July for the arrest of the three US soldiers implicated in their deaths: Sgt. Thomas Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip de Camp (http://en.rsf.org/irak-investigation-into-spanish-30-07-2010,38062.html).

On 7 September, Reporters Without Borders released a report entitled “Iraq War: a heavy death toll for the media 2003-2010” (http://en.rsf.org/iraq-the-iraq-war-the-heaviest-death-07-09-2010,38294.html), in which it evaluates the seven years of military occupation by the US-led coalition from the viewpoint of its impact on media freedom.

The report looks at all the journalists who were killed while just doing their job. Who were they? What news media did they work for? What were the circumstances of their deaths? Were they deliberately targeted? It pays tribute to all those reporters who were determined to keep reporting the news regardless of the dangers they were taking.


30/07/2010 - Investigation into Spanish cameraman’s death revived

Reporters Without Borders hails yesterday’s decision by Spain’s national court to reissue international warrants for the arrest of three US soldiers who are blamed for the 2003 death of Telecinco cameraman José Couso in Baghdad.

Couso, a Spanish national, and Reuters reporter Taras Protsyuk, a Ukrainian, were killed when Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel was shelled by a US tank on 8 April 2003.

The court issued the new warrants in response to a supreme court ruling at the start of July ordering it to reopen the case, which has been closed twice. The supreme court’s ruling was the result of an appeal by the Couso family.

“We welcome the supreme court decision that relaunched the investigation into Couso’s death,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is high time the case emerged from the judicial labyrinth in which it has been lost for years. If Sgt. Thomas Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip de Camp were questioned in court, it could shed light on the unanswered questions surrounding this case.”

The press freedom organisation added: “We urge the US authorities to respect the request being made by the Spanish court and the Couso family. After a seven-year wait, the family’s need to know the truth about his death is greater than ever.”

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