Since anti-corruption demonstrations in Iraq began in early October 2019, human rights defenders have been targeted by the Iraqi authorities and other unknown militant groups.
The demonstrations are calling for increased respect for civil and political rights in the country, and an end to corruption and chronic unemployment. The Iraqi authorities and other militant groups have been using excessive force against protesters, resulting in mass killings, arrests, and the disappearance of participants. Human rights defenders in particular have been targeted and several have been forcibly disappeared, detained or killed.
On 28 October 2019, human rights defender Safaa Al-Saray was killed by the Iraqi authorities during demonstrations at Liberation Square in Baghdad.
Safaa Al-Saray was a social media blogger who focused on promoting civil and political rights in Iraq and he had participated in anti-corruption demonstrations in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
Safaa Al-Saray was struck on his head by a tear gas cannister shot at him as he participated in demonstrations in Baghdad. He died from his injuries shortly afterwards.