Relatives of protesters who went missing during recent anti-government demonstrations in the Iraqi capital shared their fear and worries about their loved ones.
Among them is Um Mohammed, the mother of Mohammed Salal Yazea, who disappeared on November 27. She spoke about the attempts to find him in Baghdad on Tuesday.
“I called him at 10 and asked about his location. He said: I’m at Tahrir square. He called me later and told me that our neighbour had died and that he was heading to Al-Kindi hospital. I said: OK. One of the neighbours told me that Mohammed was returning home soon. I kept calling him but he simply disappeared from 10am on that day,” said the woman.
Human Rights Watch says at least seven people including a 16-year-old were reported missing from or near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the main site of protests since October 7.
”Some activists have been abducted then released after being questioned. Some of those activists were tortured. I’ve seen some protesters who were abducted before with traces of torture on their bodies, especially girls. Many of them were abducted,” said Aya Ali, a doctor.
Relatives of Mohammed say that they tried but failed to find him at many locations across Baghdad.
”I’ve been searching everywhere: at the airport, police stations, courts, security forces, everywhere but no results,” said his mother who contacted a lawyer to help with the search.
“There are people who just disappeared and we don’t know anything about their whereabouts neither from the security forces or militias, I mean other forces who carry out arms outside the law. There are abductees who are in the hands of Iraqi justice. Those who are with the security forces are not subject to any torture but they are very slow as they don’t inform their families about the location of these detainees,” said Wathik Al-Zabbar, a lawyer.
Over 400 people were killed and tens of thousands injured in the crackdown on anti-government protests across Iraq in the last two months.
On Sunday, parliament approved the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi who was forced to step down under the pressure from demonstrators.
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