April 6, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq
The body of al-Mashhadani, 29, was found by Iraqi security forces in Baghdad's northwestern district of Al-Shoula three days after he was abducted.
Al-Mashhadani, a reporter for Saudi Arabia's daily newspaper Al-Watan, was abducted on his way home from work between the northwestern Baghdad districts of Al-Shoula and Al-Ghazaliya, according to CPJ sources.
Colleagues told CPJ that al-Mashhadani was on assignment covering the Baghdad security plan and its effects on the Mahdi Army, led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Al-Mashhadani was shot in the head and chest; his body showed signs of torture and the fingers on his right hand were broken, according to CPJ sources and the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization. His captors called his family hours after his abduction demanding a ransom, but there was no further communication, the organization reported.
The Mahdi Army had a stronghold in Al-Shoula while the predominantly Sunni district of Al-Ghazaliya was under the control of the Islamic Army, the largest Sunni insurgent group.
A colleague told CPJ that al-Mashhadani reported on the activities of the Islamic Army and other militias. Al-Mashhadani began work for Al-Watan in October 2006, according to an article published by the paper. He had also worked as a freelance reporter for the prominent pan-Arab weekly magazine Al-Watan al-Arabi since 2005.
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