Dienstag, 05.02.2019 / 00:24 Uhr

Erschossen in Kerbala

Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Am Wochenende wurde der bekannte irakische Schriftsteller und Menschenrechtsaktivist Alaa Mashzoub vor seinem Haus in Kerbala mit 13 Schüssen auf offener Strasse ermordet. Mashzoub war scharfer Kritiker islamistischer Parteien im Irak. Er wandte sich gleichermaßen gegen den sog. „Islamischen Staat“, wie gegen den Iran und schiitischen Milizen. Er schrieb mehrere Bücher über die Geschichte der irakischen Juden und nahm aktiv an den jüngsten Protesten gegen Korruption und Misswirtschaft im Südirak teil.

Sein Tod wird im Irak als Teil einer Terrorserie gegen kritische Stimmen und Oppositionelle gesehen:

Mashzoub’s brother Kassem said that anyone who spoke out against corruption in Iraq was liable to become a victim of “free speech”.

“All he ever wanted was to see Iraq in a beautiful state,” Mr Mashzoub said.

The assassination of Mr Mashzoub is part of a criminal group that intends to spread terror and fear among Iraqis and restrict their freedom of expression, Ali Al Bayati, a member of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, told The National.

"The previous assassinations of media and civil activists certainly reflects the weakness of the intelligence services in detecting such operations," he said, adding that criminal investigations will not be disclosed for the public.

Fans posted condolences online after hearing of Mashzoub's death, with many expressing anger at the country’s conservative attitudes towards freedom of speech.

“Honourable Iraqi voices will not be silenced or hidden by corrupt bullets and attacks,” Ahmed Al Khader, an Iraqi writer, said on Twitter.

Iraqis called on the government to open an investigation into his death.

“Alaa was a humble poet. We have lost a personality who defended the rights of innocent people,” Fatima Ali, a student in Baghdad University, wrote on Twitter.

Mashzoub's death follows other recent killings of Iraqi activists and social media personalities.

In September last year, social media star and model Tara Fares was murdered in Baghdad.

Her death came two days after the murder of Soad Al Ali, a human rights activist and mother of four who was gunned down in the streets of Basra.