14 April 2008


British journalist freed after being held hostage in Basra for two months

Incident details

Richard Butler


This is available in:

English Français
(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Richard Butler, a British journalist who was kidnapped in Basra (590 km south of Baghdad) on 10 February 2008, was rescued by Iraqi soldiers on 14 April. Butler was on assignment for the US TV network CBS News. His interpreter, who was kidnapped with him, was released by their captors three days later.

"We are happy and relieved that Butler is safe and sound again after two months of being held hostage," Reporters Without Borders said. "Iraq continues to be extremely dangerous for journalists, including foreign reporters, five years after the start of the war. We have not forgotten the 14 journalists of whom there has been no word in the many months since their abduction."

Iraqi soldiers found Butler blindfolded and with his hands tied in a house in a Basra district where the military were carrying out a major sweep. It is not clear whether the Iraqi army had been tipped off to his location. An Iraqi officer said his captors were arrested.

Butler and his interpreter were kidnapped by gunmen early in the morning of 10 February outside the Qasr al-Sultan Hotel in Basra, where Butler was staying. Members of Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr's movement succeeded in pressuring the group to release the interpreter three days later.

Three journalists have been kidnapped in Iraq since the start of January. One of them, Haidar Mijwit Hamdane, was found dead in Baghdad. In all, at least 87 journalists and media assistants have been taken hostage in Iraq during the past five years.

Updates the missing CBS journalists' case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/90676
For further information on the Haidar Mijwit Hamdane (Hisham Mijawet Hamdan) case, see http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/90718


Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris
rsf (@) rsf.org
Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
More from Iraq
  • Freedom of the Press 2017: Iraq

    The Communications and Media Commission (CMC) withdrew the television broadcast licenses of Al-Baghdadiya in March and Qatar’s Al-Jazeera in April for what critics said were political reasons.

  • Risking Their Lives: Ongoing Attacks Against Journalists in Bahrain, Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    Through this report the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) aims to highlight cases of ongoing killings, attacks and threats against journalists and other media workers in four countries, Bahrain, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and makes recommendations to enhance their protection using international mechanisms including the United Nations system.

  • Freedom of the Press 2016: Iraq

    Iraq had one of the highest murder rates for journalists in the world. Among those killed were Thaer al-Ali, editor in chief of the Mosul newspaper Rai al-Nas, and Jalaa al-Abadi, a cameraman for the Nineveh Reports’ Network.