Baghdad bureau chief of RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq (RFI) Dr. Mohammed Bdaiwi Owaid Al-Shammari was shot and killed at a checkpoint near his office on the morning of March 22, 2014. He was 46 years old.
An Iraqi presidential guard at the gate of the compound housing RFI’s offices in Jadriyah neighborhood of Baghdad was identified as the killer. Witnesses said Al-Shammari was driving his car through the guarded gate when he had a verbal argument over the right of passage with a member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces traveling in the vehicle. The officer shot Al-Shammari before fleeing inside the compound. He apparently took refuge in presidential-guard offices before eventually being handed over, but only after Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki made a surprise appearance to demand he be taken into custody.
Al-Shammari earned his Ph.D. in philosophy of media and also held a master’s degree in public relations. He also authored several books published in Arabic, including “Metamorphoses of Political Islam in Iraq” (2011) and “Iraqi Media: Reality and Challenges” (2012).
A journalist for two decades, Al-Shammari served on the editorial boards of several Iraqi media institutions and was an associate professor at Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. He had been working for RFI since 2006 and became its Baghdad bureau chief in 2012. Al-Shammari is survived by his wife and three children.