Janat Madhi

Civil society activist Janat Madhi, 49, was shot dead on the evening of Tuesday 22 January, 2020, at around 11:00pm (2000 GMT) by armed men in an SUV. Five people including at least one other local activist were wounded in the shooting.

A source at the city’s forensics lab confirmed that Madhi had died from gunshot wounds.

She was part of an activist group giving medical care to demonstrators. The group had left the main protest camp in Basra late on Tuesday evening after which they were fired upon by unknown gunmen.

The killing is the latest in a new wave of violence against Iraq’s anti-regime protests, which had waned in previous weeks amid growing tensions between Baghdad’s two main allies, Tehran and Washington.

Demonstrators began ramping up pressure on the authorities to implement their long-standing demands: early elections under a new voting law, an independent premier and accountability for protester deaths and corruption.

More than 460 protesters have died since the rallies first erupted in early October 2019, fuelled by anger over corruption and lack of jobs that grew into demands for systemic reform.

On Monday, 21 January, 2020, three protesters were killed in clashes with security forces in Baghdad and another demonstrator died on Tuesday after a tear gas canister punctured his skull.

Rights groups accuse security forces of improperly using military-grade gas canisters — which are up to 10 times heavier than those designed for use against civilians — by firing them directly at crowds rather than into the air.

Demonstrators are outraged that only a handful of security force members have been charged with excessive violence and none of the perpetrators of hit-and-run attacks have been pursued, whereas protesters have been swiftly arrested for shutting down streets with burning tyres.

“It seems that there is a well programmed cleansing of activists who were influential in the last protest movement,” said Ali al-Bayati, spokesman for the semi-official Iraqi Independent High Commission for Human Rights.

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Date of Killing:21/01/2020

Previous Threats:No

Type of Work:Doctor

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:Civil and Political Rights, ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Abuse of power/corruption, Right to Health

More information:Front Line Defenders

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