Iran-backed militias assassinate Iraqi journalist amid nationwide protests

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iraq, January 11, 2020—Paramilitary forces with ties to the Iranian regime murdered an Iraqi journalist and his camera operator for criticizing the destructive role of the Iranian regime in his country.

On Friday, Ahmad Abdul Samad, an Iraqi journalist working for Dijla TV in Basra, southern Iraq, posted a video on Facebook, protesting the role of Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF), an Iran-backed Shiite militia coalition, in attacking journalists and reporters who are giving coverage to nationwide protests in Iraq. Abdul Samad also criticized Iraqi security forces, which are widely influenced by Tehran, for attacking peaceful anti-government protests in Basra but taking no measures against protests by Iran-backed militias in front of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Three hours after posting the video, Abdul Samad was found dead in his car along with Safa Ghali, his camera operator. A video widely distributed on social media shows Abdul Samad slumped in the passenger seat of his car with a bullet wound to his head. Ghali, shot in the chest, died while he was being taken to the hospital.

The outraged people of Basra gathered around Abdul Samad’s home and protested the crimes of Hash al-Shaabi and the Iranian regime. Protesters in Basra also gathered in front of the police command headquarters and demanded the release of arrested protesters.

“No journalist should have to fear for their safety or be singled out for attack over their coverage of protests,” said Ignacio Miguel Delgado, the Middle East and North Africa Representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists. “We call on the Iraqi authorities to immediately open an investigation into the killing of Ahmed Abdul Samad and Safaa Ghali and to do their utmost to ensure journalists can cover the protests freely and without fear of reprisal.”

Iran-backed militias have killed hundreds of Iraqi protesters since the beginning of the nationwide uprising in October. One of the main orchestrators of these murders, including the use of snipers against protesters, was Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian regime’s terror mastermind who was killed by an American drone strike last week.

Protests continue in other parts of Iraq

In Karbala, clashes continued between the youth and security forces. The people of Karbala blocked roads with burning tires. Gunshots were heard in the streets.

According to reports by Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath, despite heavy security measures by the Iraqi police and army in Baghdad, hundreds of protesters gathered in the Senek bridge on Friday.

Large crowds gathered early in morning and marched toward Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. Protests also took place in Basra, Dhighar, Karbala and Babel. The demonstrations were taking place in response to a call by the protests committee.

“These protests are happening while the army and security forces went through great efforts to prevent them,” Al-Ayam wrote.

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