Iraq: Musician shot dead in 2007, remembered on Day to End Impunity



Musician shot dead in 2007,
remembered on Day to End Impunity

Each day from 1 until 23 November 2011, IFEX highlighted a story of a journalist, writer, musician, artist or free expression advocate who was killed on that day, and whose murderers have gone free. One of them was the Iraqi musician Seif Yehia who was killed in November 2007.

“We were able to find a case of impunity for every day between 1 and 23 November. Sadly, this is a tale that can be told practically every day of the year,” said Annie Game, IFEX executive director. The initiative was to kick off the first year of the Day to end Impunity campaign.

115 singers killed
In November 2007, Seif Yehia, 23, was beheaded for singing western songs at weddings, and Sadoon, a painter, was shot dead as he drove through Baghdad. According to the Iraqi Artists’ Association, in the first five years of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, at least 115 singers, 65 actors and 60 painters were killed — many by Islamic radicals determined to eradicate all culture associated with the West. Cinemas, art galleries and concert halls were targeted in grenade and mortar attacks in Basra and Baghdad.

Out of fear, people had stopped listening to music in public, a fellow Iraqi singer told the British newspaper The Guardian at the time. Pop music, in particular, was no longer being played. Remaining artists tried to get themselves and their families to safety. In 2008, the Iraqi Ministry of Culture estimated that about 80 per cent of artists had fled.

Take Action
Members of IFEX suggest that you can write a letter demanding justice for Seif Yehia and Ibraheem Sadoon. Send the email to the authorities below. The email will come from your email address.
TO: Prime Minister H.E. Nuri Kamal al-Maliki (via IFEX:

What is impunity?
The International Day to End Impunity is a call to action to demand justice for those who have been killed for exercising their right to freedom of expression and shed light on the issue of impunity.

Every day around the world journalists, musicians, artists, politicians, and free expression advocates are being silenced, often with no investigation or consequences to their persecutors.

Take action to end impunity: Seif Yehia and Ibraheem Sadoon

Iraqi artists and singers flee amid crackdown on forbidden culture

Freemuse – 20 May 2008:
‘Iraq: Religious restrictions cause singers to flee’

You can still go to to take action on the cases and join our global call for justice.


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