Iraq News

'Armed men' gun down Iraqi activist in Basra



A mourner weeps during the January 22nd funeral in Basra of Iraqi paramedic Janat Madhi Hussein, killed the previous night by armed men in an SUV upon her return from a protest in the city. [Hussein Faleh/AFP]

An Iraqi activist was gunned down in the southern port city of Basra, a police source said Wednesday (January 22nd), amid resurgent rallies demanding authorities implement long-awaited reforms.

"Civil society activist Janat Madhi, 49, was shot on Tuesday night around 11 p.m. by armed men in an SUV," the police source said, adding that five people including at least one other local activist were wounded in the shooting.

A source at the city's forensics lab confirmed that Madhi had suffered gunshot wounds.

Madhi had been part of an activist group giving medical care to demonstrators. The group departed the main protest camp in Basra late Tuesday, after which they were fired upon by unknown gunmen.

The killing is the latest in a new wave of violence against protestors.

Iraq's Independent High Commission for Human Rights on December 15th announced the Iraqi government would form a committee to investigate assassinations and kidnappings targeting activists in the mass protests.

Iraqi politicians have in the past accused "Iran's agents" of being behind these assassinations and kidnappings.

Demonstrators this week began ramping up pressure on authorities to implement their long-standing demands: early elections under a new voting law, an independent premier and accountability for protestor deaths and corruption.

More than 460 protestors have died since the rallies first erupted in early October, fuelled by anger over graft and lack of jobs that grew into demands for systemic reform.

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