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UNAMI condemns abduction of Iraqi journalist Afrah Shawqi

Iraqi Journalist Afrah Shawqi
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) condemns the abduction of Iraqi journalist Afrah Shawqi, by unidentified gunmen from her home on Monday night.

This is a serious attack on freedom of expression in the country. This freedom is fundamental for all democratic societies and must be respected at all times and in all circumstances. UNAMI calls on those persons responsible for holding Shawqi to release her and for the authorities to investigate the matter and bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible.

Gunmen have kidnapped an Iraqi journalist after posing as members of the security forces and bursting into her home in Baghdad, according to authorities.

Afrah Shawqi was abducted on Monday at around 10pm from her home in a southern neighbourhood of the capital, said Ziad al-Ajili, head of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory.

“Eight armed men burst into her house in Saidiya dressed in plain clothes and entered by pretending to belong to the security forces,” he said.

“They tied up her son and stole mobile phones, computers and cash before kidnapping Afrah and fleeing.”

The report was confirmed by a source in Iraq’s interior ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Shawqi, 43, is employed by Asharq al-Awsat, a London-based pan-Arab newspaper, as well as a number of news websites, including Aklaam.

On Monday she published an article criticising armed groups that “act with impunity” in Iraq.