Abd al-Qudus Qassem and Karar Adil were killed by unknown gunmen in Maysan province, adding to the number of assassinated activists in Iraq.
Activists in Iraq who have been making clear and direct criticisms addressed at the political establishment and status quo have been under threat since the outbreak of the protests in October 2019. Several activists have since been kidnapped or assassinated.
Most recently, two activists, Abd al-Qudus Qassem and Karar Adil, who have been prominent in Iraq’s protest movement, were assassinated in the city of Amarah in Maysan Province by unknown gunmen. Both individuals were known to have played crucial roles in the release of several kidnapped protests at the height of the protest movement. Karar Adil is known to have specifically criticised the level of favouritism in the political establishment and the system of quotas that erects barriers to political participation.
Before this incident, the civil society activist Ali al-Helfi was also assassinated, this time in Basra, by unknown gunmen. The prominent activist Hussein Rahm was stabbed in Baghdad on the same day. The incident concerning Rahm coincided with the kidnapping of Rana Abdel Halim Sumaida, an activist in Najaf, by masked men. Accusations regarding these cases were made against supports of the Sadrist movement.
Kidnappings have also been common throughout. In December 2019, Ali al-Lami was killed by unknown gunmen in Baghdad. In November 2019, social activists Mari Muhammad in Baghdad and Hasan al-Zaim in Dhi Qar were released by unknown individuals amidst the protests in Iraq.
In October 2019, two activists, Hussein Adel Madani and his wife Sara Madani, were shot and killed after masked gunmen stormed their home in the city of Basra, southern Iraq.
A recurring theme throughout these assassinations and kidnappings has been that they have been carried out by “unknown gunmen” or “unknown militiamen”. It is still unclear who exactly is perpetrating these attacks, but accusations have normally been leveled against “Iranian-backed militia” or armed elements of the Sadrist movement.