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Two protest organizers go missing in Baghdad, activists urge release

Iraqis protest in Baghdad against corruption (File)
2019-12-12

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SULAIMANI — Two protest organizers went missing on Wednesday in Baghdad, just a day after an activist was killed in the Iraqi capital.

NRT Digital Media reporter Omed Mohammed said that Omer Kazim al-Amri and Salman Khaiallah al-Mansoori left home on Wednesday morning and headed towards the Kadhmiya neighborhood to buy tents and other equipment for the protests in Tahrir Square, but did not arrive.

The mobile phones of both activists had been turned off since Wednesday evening, the reporter added.

Mohammed cited the organizers’ friends as saying that they have no information whether the government had arrested them or whether they had been kidnapped have a “third party” group.

“But, we do know the two have not harmed anybody and…only raised the Iraqi flag,” the reporter cited their friends as saying.

“To the government, we say, stop arresting our young sons using false allegations, your role is and will always be, protecting the right of nonviolent protesting and peaceful protesters,” the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) said in a post on Facebook.

“To the kidnappers, we ask you to let Omar and Salman go,” it added.

Iraqi media reported on Wednesday that prominent activist Ali Lami, who was from the southeastern city of Kut, was abducted and killed in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday night as he left the protests to go home.

Another prominent civil society activist, Fahem al-Tai, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Karbala late Sunday while returning home from protests.

Protesters took to the streets at the beginning of October to demand an end to corruption, better public services, and employment, but since then the unrest has become a more general uprising seeking the ouster of the Iraq's political establishment.

More than 400 people have been killed in Baghdad and provinces in the south. Thousands have been injured in the unrest as the government and “third party groups” have used live ammunition, snipers, and tear gas in an attempt put down the protests.

(NRT Digital Media)