IRE is saddened to hear about the passing of Sarmad Qaseera, a photojournalist to whom we’d awarded an IRE Medal for his 2012 work in Benghazi. The 42-year-old was a longtime member of CNN’s Baghdad bureau.
Qaseera was hired by CNN to cover the war in his home country of Iraq in 2003, and in doing so risked his life, according to CNN’s story on his passing. He remained in Iraq until a “very specific death threat” forced him out in 2006. He fled to the U.S. to continue his work for CNN, based in Atlanta. When he died, he was weeks away from U.S. citizenship.
In 2012, Qaseera traveled to Benghazi with CNN correspondent Arwa Damon and helped provide clarity in the midst of initial contradictory reports. The IRE Medal, awarded to the two in 2013, is the highest honor we bestow for investigative reporting.
Here, we’ve embedded video of Qaseera discussing his approach in Benghazi.