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IHCHR Records 171 Assassinations, Abductions During Iraqi Protests

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Caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi stressed Tuesday that his government deals with demonstrators in a “paternal” manner and adheres to the rules of engagement with them. However, demonstrators, human rights organizations, as well as the international community seems to look at the protests from a different angle.

For their part, protesting groups have mocked Mahd's statement, describing it as “misleading and untrue.” A reaction adopted by many local and international human rights organizations who agree with these groups, given the number of victims which amounted to 26,000 cases ranging from assassinations, assaults, and abductions.

In its latest statistic on the numbers of protesters and journalists who were kidnapped and injured in the past weeks and months, the independent Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq (IHCHR) announced documenting 171 cases during protests.

IHCHR Member Dr. Fadhel al-Gharawi said in a statement on Wednesday that “attempts to assassinate, kidnap and assault demonstrators are a flagrant violation of the human right to life and safety and a restriction of freedom of opinion, expression, and peaceful protest.”

The Commission has documented 49 cases of attempted assassinations and 72 abduction attempts involving protesters, activists, and bloggers since the first day of the demonstrations, he noted.

“Through its monitoring teams, the IHCHR has documented 50 assault cases against journalists, through beating, threatening, inhaling tear gas, attacking many satellite channels, breaking equipment and preventing media workers from playing their role in covering the demonstrations.”

The country’s Interior Ministry ordered on Tuesday the closure of the local “Tigris” television channel, which is known for its extensive coverage of anti-power protests nearly four months ago, for a full month.

Gharawi called on the government and security forces to take effective measures to protect the demonstrators and journalists, preserve their lives, pursue the unknown parties that are trying to silence them and bring them to justice.

He also urged them to promote the freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful demonstration for all parties away from dangers that threaten the lives of protesters, activists, and journalists.
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