Iraq protester fourth to be murdered amid spate of abductions

Iraq protester fourth to be murdered amid spate of abductions
The United Nations, Amnesty International and Iraq's Ayotallah Sistani have all condemned the spate of killings and kidnappings.
2 min read
15 December, 2019
More than 400 people have been killed since the onset of the protests [Getty]
A supporter of Iraqi anti-government demonstrations was gunned down in Baghdad, a police source said on Sunday, the fourth backer of the protest movement to be killed in two weeks.

Mohammed al-Doujaili, 24, was shot in the back near the Tahrir Square protest hub on Saturday night, the police source said. 

Another man who was with him was wounded in the same attack, and al-Doujaili died of his wounds at a Baghdad hospital on Sunday morning, relatives said.

Doujaili, who helped distribute food to protesters encamped in Tahrir Square, was buried in Baghdad's Shia-majority district of Sadr City.

He is the fourth protester to be killed by unidentified assailants over the past two weeks.

Father of five Ali al-Lami, 49, was shot and killed by several bullets to the head earlier this week and prominent civil society activist Fahem al-Tai was killed in a drive-by shooting in Iraq's shrine city of Karbala.

In one particularly gruesome case, the bruised body of 19-year-old Zahra Ali was found on December 2 outside her family home in Baghdad, hours after she had gone missing.

Activists have blamed the string of brutal murders, as well as the abductions of dozens more protesters, on Iran-backed militias. The government has yet to identify the perpetrators behind the murders.

Read more: Scores of Iraqi women victim to online sexual blackmail

The United Nations on Wednesday demanded the Iraqi government identify and hold responsible those behind the abductions and targeted killings, which have created a powerful climate of fear among demonstrators.

Amnesty International on Friday urged Baghdad to clamp down on what it called a "campaign of terror targeting protesters".

Iraq's foremost Shia Muslim cleric has also condemned the apparent abduction campaign, urging state control over the use of weapons in his weekly address.

Iraq's capital and Shia-majority south have been engulfed in mass rallies since early October.

Originally targeting government corruption, poor public services and a lack of jobs, the demonstrations have since ballooned as protesters decry the brutal crackdown on dissent by security forces. 

At least 460 people have been killed and 25,000 wounded, most of them protesters, since the youth-led rallies erupted. Some Iraqi activists have put that figure higher, at more than 500 dead.

Demonstrations once again took place on Sunday in Baghdad and across the south of Iraq, where schools and public administrations remained closed, AFP correspondents said.

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