Iraq: Woman human rights defender Dr. Su’ad Al-Ali assassinated in Basra
According to reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), on 25 September 2018, human rights defender Dr. Su’ad Al-Ali, the head of Al-Weed Al-Alaiami for Human Rights, was assassinated in the Al-Abbasiyah district in downtown Basra.
A video of the incident widely published on social networking sites showed a person approaching her as she was getting into her car, firing a bullet at the back of her head and pointing another bullet at her driver Hussain Hassan, who was injured in the shoulder. Al-Ali is 46 and the mother of four children, while her driver was 31. (AP incorrectly reported that she was with her husband at the time of the shooting.)
According to the NGO’s website, Al-Weed Al-Alaiami for Human Rights focuses mainly on "women's rights and demands” as well as "children's rights and many activities for the revival of childhood."
Reliable reports confirmed that Dr. Al-Ali had been a leader of recent demonstrations that broke out in the governorate of Basra on 14 July 2018 and spread to many other Iraqi cities protesting unemployment and demanding jobs and proper public services for citizens, as well as calling for the elimination of rampant corruption.
GCHR condemns in the strongest terms the assassination of Dr. Su’ad Al-Ali and expresses its deep concern over the violation of the right to freedom of assembly of peaceful demonstrators, along with other human rights defenders in Iraq, including lawyers, journalists and bloggers who continue their work bravely despite the risks of arrest or violence.
GCHR calls on the authorities in Iraq to:
- Conduct an independent, impartial and thorough investigation into the assassination of Dr. Su’ad Al-Ali, with the aim of publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
- Protect the right to peaceful demonstration of all citizens and throughout the country;
- Immediately and unconditionally release all peaceful demonstrators; and
- Ensure that all human rights defenders in Iraq and those who do their legitimate work in defense of human rights are able to work without facing restrictions, including judicial harassment.