NEWS MEDIA UPDATE · IRAQ · Newsgathering · Aug. 3, 2005
Masked gunmen kidnap and kill American journalist
Aug. 3, 2005 · A journalist and his Iraqi translator were shot and left on the side of a road Tuesday in southern Iraq after being abducted at gunpoint.
Freelance journalist Steven Vincent, who had recently written articles criticizing the religious militant infiltration of the Iraqi police force, was found dead Tuesday south of Basra in southern Iraq. Vincent, who died of multiple gunshot wounds to his chest and neck, is the first American journalist to be attacked and killed in Iraq, according to media reports.
Earlier Tuesday, Vincent and his female translator, were kidnaped by masked gunmen in Basra outside a currency exchange shop, The New York Times reported. The abductors might have been in a police vehicle, The Associated Press reported.
Vincent’s hands were tied with plastic wire and a red piece of cloth was around his neck when he was found, The Times reported. His translator was reportedly shot four times and is seriously wounded and in a Basra hospital.
Basra is controlled by British troops, and British and Iraqi forces will investigate the killing, The Washington Post reported.
Vincent was apparently gathering material for a book about Basra, as well as posting to his Web log and writing articles for The Christian Science Monitor and other publications. Most recently he wrote a column for The New York Times, which appeared Sunday, charging that the city has been infiltrated by Shia Muslim extremists and the British have done little to curb their abuse of power.
“Basran politics (and everyday life) is increasingly coming under the control of Shiite religious groups, from the relatively mainstream Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq to the bellicose followers of the rebel cleric Moqtada Sadr,” Vincent wrote. “Recruited from the same population of undereducated, underemployed men who swell these organizations’ ranks, many of Basra’s police officers maintain dual loyalties to mosque and state.”
There is speculation that Vincent was killed in retaliation for the column, where he quoted an unnamed Iraqi police lieutenant who said police officers were responsible for assassinating Baath Party members while on the payroll of extremist religious groups.
Vincent is the sixth journalist to die in Iraq this year, according to The Associated Press.