Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Editorial: How many US outlets ever noted what was happening to the Iraqi protesters?

A Tweet:

There is a chain of protests that started on the first of October in all across Iraq in order to overthrow the corrupt government that has been stealing their people’s money for 17 years they were killing protesters and didn’t want the media to know (A THREAD)

Saturday, the United Nations issued a report which noted the way the Iraqi government had attacked the Iraqi protesters.   IANS notes that the report found 123 protesters were kidnapped. Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) notes that the UN "has verified the death of 490 activists and the injury of 7,783 others since October." Hiwa Shilani (KURDISTAN 24) explains:

On Saturday, the United Nations published a report on the abduction of multiple demonstrators in Iraq since late October that detailed the experiences of some, including the circumstances in which they were taken and their subsequent interrogation and torture.
The Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) documented 123 cases of people who disappeared between October 1, 2019, and March 21, 2020. A total of 98 individuals have been found while the other 25 are still missing.
“Absence of accountability for these acts continues to contribute to the pervasive environment of impunity in relation to demonstration-linked reports of violations and abuses,” the UN report highlighted.  
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, stated, “The establishment of a high-level fact-finding committee by the new Government to investigate casualties and related harm is a crucial step toward justice and accountability.”

May 25th, Lawk Ghafuri Tweeted:

Tonight Tahrir Square in #Baghdad is packed with candles and protesters are lighting up candles for all the dead protesters who lost their lives protesting against the government and political parties since October 2019. Photos via Telegram #IraqProtests #العراق

So many were harmed and hurt but the protests persisted.  Even after coronavirus emerged in Iraq, protests continued.  They were targeted with violence, they were kidnapped, they were arrested.  Still they protested.

On the kidnappings,  THE NEW ARAB adds:

In every incident, those targeted for abductions had either participated in the protests or provided support to demonstrators, UNAMI said. Nearly all of the abductees were either activists prior to the protests, played significant roles in the demonstrations, or criticised authorities or armed groups on social media, it added.
Abductees were forced into vehicles by masked and armed men close to demonstration sites, according to UNAMI. Many described being blindfolded and driven to locations where they were detained.
All of them were "interrogated" by their captors, with questioning commonly focused on their role in the demonstrations, allegations of links to foreign states - particularly the United States - and their political affiliations.
All male abductees described being subjected to torture such as severe beatings, electrocution, hosing or bathing in cold water, being hung from the ceiling by their arms and legs, being urinated on, being photographed nude, death threats and threats to their families, UNAMI reported.
Female abductees said they were beaten, threatened with rape and touched in their "private areas".

The United Nations is calling for a real investigation -- not the nonsense that passed for an 'investigation' last year.  Omar Sattar (AL-MONITOR) reports:

The new Iraqi government has begun procedures to reinvestigate the violent acts during the popular protests that broke out in October and killed more than 700 people and injured over 25,000. The decision was greatly welcomed at home and in the international arena. The United Nations Security Council called for “transparency during the investigation.”

Following the first meeting of his government May 9, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi announced the formation of an investigation committee, whose members have not been disclosed so far. He said that the committee will work on uncovering the names of the parties responsible for killing hundreds of protesters who have been calling for reform and the trial of corrupt politicians.
The committee is currently being formed and its members will be announced at a later stage. This is the second committee of this kind, following the one that was formed by Adel Abdul Mahdi, former prime minister who resigned at the end of November 2019, which did not yield satisfactory results for the protesters and failed to indict any party behind the bloody events that took place in central and southern Iraq.

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