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Iraq Forms Committee to List Victims of Violence at Protests

Iraq Forms Committee to List Victims of Violence at Protests

Wednesday, 20 May, 2020 - 08:00
Iraqi protesters raise national flags as they clash with security forces on Al-Jumhuriyah bridge in the capital Baghdad. AFP file photo

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has thanked the Higher Judicial Council for releasing activists and lawyers from the southern Diwaniyah and Wasit governorates.

“I thank the Higher Judicial Council for setting free lawyers and protestors arrested today in Diwaniyah and Kut,” Kadhimi tweeted Tuesday.

“The right to peaceful protest is constitutionally guaranteed. Security forces and demonstrators are responsible for protecting public and private property,” he added.

Kadhimi’s praise follows Iraqi authorities forming a committee tasked with preparing an accurate list of names of those who were killed, wounded and disabled during popular protests. The list is expected to include security men as well as protesters.

"The planned list will cover the period from October 1, 2019 to May 18, and it will be published in the media, and it will be adopted as a basis for honoring the martyrs and compensating the families of the victims," a statement from Kadhimi’s office said.

It said that Kadhimi "entrusted a specialized committee linked to his office with the task of preparing this list in cooperation with various state institutions and Iraqi and international organizations so as to ensure the accuracy of the information contained therein."

This list, if completed, is considered the first official Iraqi effort to document victims of the protests and fulfills one of the pledges made by Kadhimi’s cabinet.

Many, however, remain unsure about measures taken by Kadhimi’s government and its ability to hold perpetrators of violence accountable.

On Monday night, confrontations erupted between security forces and demonstrators, which resulted in the arrest of four protesters from Diwaniyah, including two lawyers who are facing court charges related to encouraging masses to stage demonstrations.

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