UN 'concerned' over assassination of Iraq anti-corruption activists
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) expressed concerns on Monday over reports of assassinations targeting activists and leaders in the popular protests against corruption.
In a statement, UNAMI cited field reports indicating unidentified assailants were targeting protesters and journalists, some of whom had been reportedly harassed, intimidated and threatened.
The statement comes two days after a series of assassinations in Baghdad, Basra and cities in southern Iraq targeting activists and leaders in the popular protests taking place across Iraq.
Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq and Head of UNAMI, was quoted in the statement as saying: "Following reports of threats [...] to protesters and journalists [...] the political forces and protesters must both reject these assaults."
"The Iraqi security forces must address these unknown entities according to the law," Kubis added. "The Iraqi authorities must prosecute anyone trying to deviate the peaceful protests or prevent journalists from carrying out their duties."
In the past 48 hours, 9 activists were killed in Baghdad, Babel al-Kout and Basra, according to security sources. The activists were closely involved in the protests taking place in Iraq.
On Monday, hundreds of Iraqi protesters took to the streets in Baghdad to call for the resignation of the country's chief justice and the names of corrupt politicians and officials to be made public.
The demonstrators called on Medhat al-Mahmoud, head of the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council, to step down because he was appointed in by a political decision rather than elected.
Protesters chanted in support of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's reform agenda, which includes a plan to cut down the size of the government and rein in excessive spending.