Wed, Nov 22, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Satirist gunned down on way to work in Baghdad

AGENCIES , BAGHDAD

One of Iraq's best known satirists and broadcasters was gunned down on his way to work on Monday, his colleagues and the police said.

Waleed Hassan's Caricature sketch show was an unmissable part of weekend Fridays for Iraqis seeking a release in laughter from the blood and chaos around them. Hassan poked fun at sectarian violence, bickering politicians, power blackouts and all aspects of the turmoil that is daily life in Iraq.

He was found in west Baghdad with three bullet wounds to the head, said the Sharkiya channel. Hassan, the father of five, was a director of the station and also produced a political interview show for it.

Yesterday, a taxi left Yarmouk Hospital's morgue in western Baghdad with a wooden casket carrying Hassan to a funeral in Najaf.

Grieving relatives and colleagues gathered near the casket as it was tied to the roof of the taxi, including several crying women.

On Monday, Hassan's sister Nadia Hassan Ja'az said his death was incomprehensible.

"Why did they want to kill him? He didn't hurt anyone," she told Sharkiya.

"He has nothing to do with Sunni or Shiite, he doesn't recognize these things. He's just an actor defending Iraq, its people and his family," she said through tears.

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