Human Rights

Iraq: Activists Kidnapped and Released by Unknown Assailants


Social activists Mari Muhammad in Baghdad and Hasan al-Zaim in Dhi Qar were released by unknown individuals amidst the protests in Iraq.

The release of activists Mari Muhammad from Baghdad, Hassan al-Zaim from Dhi Qar, as well as journalist Muhammad al-Shammari from Diwaniya raises questions about how they were allowed to be kidnapped in the first place and whether there was any government connivance.

“I and all the other girls did not suffer any abuse or torture and we are all fine, thankfully. It was just an investigation and we were questioned about whether we get support and funding from outside parties”, commented Mari Muhammad 11 days after she had been kidnapped in Baghdad. She then called on Iraqis to not believe in the rumours spreading about her on social media.

The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) issued a statement on Tuesday calling on the government to put an end to the kidnapping of activists, civilians and journalists across the country.

A number of civil organisations and the UN held the Iraqi Government accountable for the kidnapping of the activists as they were not provided with the necessary protection seeing as the assailants have not been identified.

The Government has responded, stating that the state of chaos on the streets has made it impossible to follow the steps of all individuals who are at risk of harm. It nevertheless vowed to assign special investigation teams to pursue the perpetrators of the crimes. This came after the kidnapping of the Dean of the Institute of Security and Administration in the district of Jadiriya in central Baghdad in broad daylight, which forced the Iraqi Prime Minister, Adil Abd al-Mahdi, to break the Government’s silence on the matter.

Protests have been continuing in Iraq for almost a month since the second bout of demonstrations were launched on 25 October. Over 300 people are known to have been killed throughout. Kidnappings as well as internet hacking have also become phenomena that are plaguing the protests in Iraq.