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More Protest Activists Kidnapped in Iraq

More Protest Activists Kidnapped in Iraq

Monday, 24 February, 2020 - 10:30
Students and other demonstrators hold national flags during ongoing anti-government protests, in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. (AP)
Baghdad - Fadhel al-Nashmi

Activists and human rights centers reported the disappearance of Iraqi activists, Alaa Sheikh Ali and Tariq Hammoud, in the latest of such kidnappings in the country.


They were abducted after leaving Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on Saturday night.


According to activists, contact with the two activists was lost and their phones were switched off soon after they left the square. Their families and friends still can’t reach them, they added.


The incident comes just days after the assassination attempt against writer Hussein Rashid on Baghdad’s Mohammed al-Qassem highway.


Separately, school and university student protests persisted in the country even though teaching resumed after a third of the academic year was lost to general strikes.


Students had been staging protests on Sundays.


Thousands of students flooded the streets of Baghdad on Sunday after school hours and headed to Tahrir Square. Similar rallies were staged in the Najaf, Karbala, Wasit, Babel and Diwaniya provinces.


Meanwhile, preparations and campaigns continued for holding a million-strong rally in Baghdad and across the central and southern regions amid a new wave of discontent in the country over the appointment of Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi as prime minister.


The popular movement has been insisting on the appointment of an independent figure, holding those involved in the killing of and crackdown on protesters accountable and staging early elections under UN supervision.


Nasiriyah city was, meanwhile, shaken on Sunday by the news of a gruesome assault on a third grade student, Fawatim Alaa Hussein, who was kidnapped, raped and then killed after she was kidnapped off the street.


Shortly after, the crime prevention directorate in Dhi Qar announced the arrest of the perpetrator, who works as a barber in the city.


The Education Ministry demanded laying down the maximum penalty against the criminal.


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