Serena Shim

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Serena Shim
BornOctober 10, 1985
DiedOctober 19, 2014
(aged 29)
Resting placeBourj el-Barajneh, Lebanon
Other namesSerena Ali Suhaim
EducationAmerican University of Science and Technology
Alma materClarenceville High School
OccupationTelevision journalist
Years active2006–2014
EmployerPress TV

Serena Shim (Arabic: سيرينا علي سحيم‎,[1] Serena Ali Suhaim;[1] October 10, 1985[citation needed] – October 19, 2014) was an American journalist for Press TV. While covering the Siege of Kobanê as a war correspondent, she was allegedly murdered in a car crash. Her employer called the accident "suspicious" as she was killed two days after Turkey allegedly accused her of spying.[2]

Personal background[edit]

Serena Shim, an American citizen of Lebanese origin, was born as the daughter of Judith Poe and her Lebanese father in 1985. She was raised in Dearborn and Livonia and her family lived in Detroit, Michigan, United States. As a child, she attended Lowrey Elementary School in Dearborn and later went to Clarenceville High School in Livonia.[3] She attended college at the American University of Science and Technology, Beirut, Lebanon. She was married to Ibrihim Shim and the couple had a son and a daughter.[4][5][6][7]

Shim was 29 years old when she was killed in Turkey. Her funeral ceremony was held on October 22 in a hussainia in Bourj el-Barajneh before she was buried in a cemetery in the same district.[1][5][8] A memorial service was held in Dearborn.[3]


After her education, she worked for a media company in Beirut. Shim covered reports for Press TV in Lebanon, Iraq, Ukraine and Turkey.[9][7]

Her death took place days after she published a story detailing the said Turkish government use of humanitarian aid-marked trucks to transport weapons and ammunition to ISIL-ISIS factions that opposed the Assad administration's government in Syria. There are other news sources detailing ISIL-ISIS exporting oil through Turkey as well. [1] Turkey's intelligence agency accused Serena Shim of spying.


Covering the siege of Kobanê[edit]

Suruç is located in Turkey.
Suruç, Şanlıurfa Province, Turkey is shown relative to Istanbul, Diyarbakır, and the capital city Ankara.

In October 2014, Shim was assigned by Press TV to Turkey on a mission to cover the ISIL conflict. She was based in Suruç, Şanlıurfa Province, Turkey, which is a rural area near the Syrian border.[10][11]

Apparent accusation of spying by Turkey[edit]

On October 17, Shim told Press TV that the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had accused her of "spying".[11] She stated that it is "probably due to some of the stories she had covered about Turkey's stance on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants in Kobanê".[12] She had reported that ISIL militants were being smuggled over the Turkish border into Syria on trucks: "I’ve got images of them in World Food Organization [sic] trucks. It was very apparent that they were militants by their beards, by the clothes they wore, and they were going in there with NGO trucks".[11][13] Shim said on air she's "a bit frightened" by what MİT "might use against me."[2]


Shim died on October 19, 2014 in a car crash on her way back to her hotel. She was returning to Suruç with her driver and camera operator, Judy Irish, in a rental car when the car collided with a cement mixer.[12][14] The Turkish crash report said that Irish, who was driving the car, was the only culprit, having “entered the junction too fast, violating a lane as well as traffic rules by turning right.”[14] The report also said that Şükrü Salan, the driver of the concrete mixer, was not in any way responsible.[14] He was released after being detained following the accident.[15] It was later reported that both the expert report and traffic collision report agreed he was not at fault for the accident, but the Suruç Public Prosecutor Office sought a jail term of two to six years for him on manslaughter charges.[15]

Irish was injured and taken to Suruç State Hospital.[10]

Salan was subsequently arrested.[16][15] Press TV disputed this, alleging that both driver and vehicle "have disappeared" and her death is "suspicious".[11]


Şanlıurfa Governor İzzettin Küçük denied Press TV's claims and called them "completely baseless" and "attempts to put Turkey in a difficult situation".[12] Küçük said a detailed statement would be made after the investigations.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c مفكرة النشاطات الرسمية المقررة في لبنان ليوم الاربعاء 22 تشرين الأول 2014 (in Arabic). Sidonia News. October 22, 2014. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Greenslade, Roy (October 20, 2014). "Iranian broadcaster raises suspicions about death of reporter on Syrian border". The Guardian. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Journalist who grew up in Dearborn and Livonia dies in Turkey". Detroit Free Press. October 30, 2014.
  4. ^ "Press TV correspondent with Dearborn ties believed killed by Turkish authorities".
  5. ^ a b Cristina Corbin. "Family suspects foul play in death of US journalist in Turkey". Fox News.
  6. ^ Dietz, Kevin (January 12, 2015). "Defenders: A young reporter's mysterious death". WDIV-TV.
  7. ^ a b "US JOURNALIST WORKING FOR IRANIAN TV KILLED IN CAR ACCIDENT". Sabah. October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  8. ^ "Funeral held for Press TV reporter Serena Shim". RT International.
  9. ^ Habib Battah (October 22, 2014). "My personal memory of #SerenaShim". Your Middle East. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c "Press TV reporter dies in 'suspicious' car crash in Suruç". Today's Zaman. October 20, 2014. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d "Iranian TV reporter killed in Turkey car crash 1 day after 'spying accusations'". RT. October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c "US-Lebanese reporter dies in Turkey, Iranian TV calls accident 'suspicious'". Hürriyet Daily News. October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  13. ^ Alex Thomson "Serena Shim’s death: why conclusions without evidence are stupid", Channel 4, 4 November 2014
  14. ^ a b c Lebanese-American reporter’s camerawoman ‘sole culprit’ in car crash case, Hurriyet daily News 24 October 2014
  15. ^ a b c Driver faces up to 6 years in jail for US-Lebanese reporter’s death, Hurriyet daily News, December 25, 2014
  16. ^ "6 years in jail sought for driver in accident that killed reporter Shim". TodaysZaman. December 25, 2014.

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