Unidentified gunmen broke into the home of journalist and activist Afrah Shawqi Al-Qaisi
A female journalist who has campaigned against widespread corruption in Iraq has been captured in Baghdad.
Unidentified gunmen broke into the home of journalist and activist Afrah Shawqi Al-Qaisi in the Iraqi capital late on Monday night.
The men kidnapped Ms Al-Qaisi, a veteran journalist and an employee of the Iraqi Culture Ministry, Iraq’s Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.
Her abduction is a reminder of the dangers journalists face in a country where authorities have struggled to maintain security nationwide.
The Ministry’s statement did not give details on the circumstances of the abduction in Baghdad’s southwestern Saydiyah neighborhood, but called on residents to report any information that might benefit the investigation.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the security forces to investigate the kidnapping and to ‘exert the utmost effort’ to save her.
Ms Al-Qaisi is considered one of the critics of the country’s endemic corruption.
Ms Al-Qaisi is a veteran journalist and an employee of the Iraqi Culture Ministry, who has campaigned against widespread corruption in the country
Iraqi security forces search cars in Baghdad’s southwestern Saydiyah neighborhood a day after journalist Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi was kidnapped
On Monday, she published an article in a local media outlet, criticising an Interior Ministry officer who badly beat a school principal in the southern city of Nasiriyiah.
The headteacher was beaten in front of the pupils and teachers for refusing to punish a pupil who quarrelled with his daughter.
The head of the Baghdad-based Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, Ziyad al-Ajeeli, who had spoken to Ms Al-Qaisi’s family, said that eight gunmen came in at least two pickup trucks, claiming to be members of the security forces, and asked to search the house.
Ms Al-Qaisi was taken from her home in the Saydiyah area, which was considered as a stronghold for al-Qaeda militants before the start of Baghdad security plan a year ago
Influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr speaks during his visit to the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate to show his solidarity after the kidnapping
Once inside the house, they handcuffed Ms Al-Qaisi’s 16-year old son, kept him in the kitchen and walked off with gold, money, phones, laptops and her car.
They also badly beat her brother-in-law who lives next door, he added.
War-torn Iraq is considered one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, who have been frequently targeted by militant groups since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Dozens of reporters have also been killed while covering military operations. According to Reporters Without Borders, seven journalists were killed in the country in 2016.