Peaceful protestor Maimouna Al Mashhadani abducted in Baghdad

Peaceful protestor Maimouna Al Mashhadani abducted in Baghdad

On October 28, 2019, Maimouna Al Mashhadani was abducted by unknown forces after she had joined an anti-government demonstration in Baghdad. Her fate and whereabouts remain unknown despite all the steps taken by her family to locate her.
Latest Updates
November 7, 2019: MENA Rights Group requests urgent intervention of UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances.
October 30, 2019: Ms. Al Mashhadani’s father files a complaint at Nahda Police station in Baghdad, but to no avail.
October 28, 2018: Al Mashhadani is last seen in Nahda square, Baghdad.
October 1, 2019: Anti-government protest begins in Baghdad.

On October 28, 2019, Ms. Maimouna Al Mashhadani travelled from Erbil to Baghdad to visit relatives and take part in one of the anti-government protests organised in the capital. Before being abducted by unknown forces, she was last seen by other protestors in Baghdad’s Nahda square. Three other female demonstrators allegedly disappeared under similar circumstances.

Although Ms Al Mashhadani's family has not received any information concerning the perpetrators responsible for her enforced disappearance, they believe that she was abducted by Iraqi security forces or by a militia acting with the authorisation, support, acquiescence or approval of the state. The rising number of similar abductions that have been recently reported in the capital is indicative of a pattern of enforced disappearances directed against peaceful anti-government demonstrators. On the day of Ms Al Mashhadani’s disappearance, a curfew was declared in Baghdad prohibiting vehicle and pedestrian movement between 00:00 and 06:00.

On October 30, 2019, Ms. Al Mashhadani’s father filed a complaint at Nahda Police station in Baghdad, but to no avail. Between October 30 and November 4, 2019, he unsuccessfully searched for her in the Medical City, a public hospital in Baghdad, and also hung several posters in Nahda Square asking for any information that could help clarifying her fate and whereabouts.

Ms. Al Mashhadani's abduction falls within the context of repression against peaceful demonstrators in Iraq. On October 1, 2019, protests started in Baghdad and southern cities calling for improved services and more action to curb corruption. The demonstrations were met by excessive and unnecessary lethal force by Iraqi security forces. A public report published on October 22, 2019 reported 157 deaths, most of which were demonstrators. Other cases of enforced disappearance of individuals who took part in the demonstrations have also been reported.