Iraq: Writer and novelist Dr. Alaa Mashthob Abboud assassinated


On 02 February 2019, gunmen opened fire on the writer and novelist Dr. Alaa Mashthob Abboud and killed him instantly in front of his house in Karbala, located about 100 km southwest of the capital Baghdad. According to reports from the forensic medicine department, to which his body was transferred, 13 bullets penetrated his body at close range.

Before his death, he reportedly met with a group of writers and journalists before returning to his home in the old city center where he was killed.

Dr. Abboud, born in 1968, graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad in 1993 and received his Masters and Doctor of Fine Arts in 2009 and 2014, respectively. He is a member of the Syndicate of Artists, the Journalists’ Syndicate, the General Federation of Writers and Writers, and the Society for Peace and Solidarity in Iraq. He has been a writer since he was young and began to publish his articles in Iraqi newspapers since 1987, including in recent years in the “Al-Sabah”, “Azzaman”, “Al-Mada” and “Al-Ittihad” newspapers.

He wrote a number of novels including "The Chaos of the Nation" in 2014, which was selected as one of the five best books at the Abu Dhabi exhibition. He also directed a number of documentary films, including the film "Doors and Windows", which won the second prize at a short film festival.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) condemns in the strongest terms the assassination of Dr. Alaa Mashthob Abboud and expresses its deep concern over the violation of the right to freedom of expression, including the murder of human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and bloggers who continue their work bravely despite the risks of violence. GCHR notes that ongoing impunity in the murders of journalists and writers in Iraq allows a culture of violence to continue. The authors of such crimes as well as the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

GCHR calls on the authorities in Iraq to:

  1. Conduct an independent, impartial and thorough investigation into the assassination of Dr. Alaa Mashthob Abboud, with the aim of publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
  2. Protect all the public freedoms and in particular the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press; and
  3. 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 or violence.