Iraq: Demonstrators executed by death squads

Over the past three days, at least three demonstrators have been extrajudicially executed. The activists point to pro-Iranian militias as perpetrators.

The protests in Iraq against corruption among the ruling elite have been going on for about two months. So far, 450 people have been killed and around 20,000 injured. As Iran is claimed to be increasingly intervening on the part of the Iraqi government, there are suspicions that pro-Iranian death squads are deliberately executing or kidnapping protesters amid increasing cases of forced detention, threats and murders.

Only at the night from Tuesday to Wednesday was the body of Ali al-Lami, father of five children, found with three bullet wounds in his head. Lami had come to the al-Shaab district to take part in the protests at Tahrir Square in Baghdad. The murder was committed there. His friend Taysir al-Atabi found his body with three bullets in the back of his head. He blamed "the militias of the corrupt government" for the murder and referred to Iranian death squads serving the government. A police source reports that a weapon equipped with a silencer was used in the crime. Lami had called for peaceful protests through the social media shortly before his death.

Lami is the third protestor to have been the victim of an execution in the last ten days. On December 2, 19-year-old Zahra Ali was kidnapped while distributing leaflets. She was tortured and her body thrown outside her home in Baghdad a few hours later. Relatives report that her body showed traces of electric shocks, blows and fractures.

Last week, 53-year-old family father Fehim al-Tai was shot dead by two assailants on a motorcycle on his way home.

Since October, many more protesters have been found dead in various places in the country. In addition, armed and uniformed people have repeatedly kidnapped people. The state declared that nothing was known about these kidnappers.

Last Friday, some twenty opposition members were shot dead by gunmen in Baghdad. Since then, a new wave of kidnappings has begun.