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Unions call for independent investigation into death of Jacky Sutton

20 October 2015

The International Federation of Journalists has today backed calls for an independent investigation into the death of Jacky Sutton, a former BBC journalist and the director of the Institute of War and Peace Reporting in Iraq.

Jacky Sutton was found dead on Saturday 17 October at the airport in Istanbul.

According to media reports, Jacky had left from London and was supposed to take another flight to Erbil in Iraq. Local media reported that the cause of death was suicide. However, friends and family have questioned how local authorities were able to come to this conclusion so quickly.

The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) is based in London and Jacky was working in Iraq on behalf of the organisation since June. Her work involved supporting local journalism in countries affected by conflict and crisis. While Jacky worked for the BBC she was a member of the NUJ.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"Our thoughts go out to Jacky’s family and friends at this sad time. It is clear that her death came as a shock to those that knew her best – it is vital that a thorough, independent and transparent inquiry into her death takes place in order to ascertain precisely what happened. Jacky will be much missed by the international community of journalists who knew her well and respected her work."

The IFJ's affiliate in Australia - the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) also expressed concerns about the incident and asked for an investigation to clarify the "highly suspicious circumstances" of the former journalist's death.

In May, the previous director of the IWPR in Iraq, Ammar Al Sha, was killed in Baghdad in a car bomb attack.

Jim Boumelha, IFJ president, said:

"We are saddened by the disappearance of British colleague and former member of the NUJ, Jacky Sutton. Given that her predecessor at the IWPR in Iraq was killed and her upcoming trip to the country, we back our affiliates’ call on the authorities for an international and fully transparent investigation into the circumstances of her death to be sure that it was in any case linked to her humanitarian engagement in Iraq."

Tags: , media entertainment and arts alliance, iraq, investigations, ifj