Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kadhimi directs counter-terror forces to free kidnapped activist Sajjad al-Iraqi

BAGHDAD — In a statement on Monday, the Iraqi Security Media Cell revealed the arrest of 64 individuals wanted by the judiciary for various criminal offenses and who were arrested between 6 and 21 September. The Cell also announced the confiscation of more than 150 weapons of various type and the seizure of quantities of drugs in Maysan Province.

According to officials, over 275 suspects surrendered to security forces in Maysan during the deployment of rapid reaction forces who searched and cordoned off key areas in conjunction with air deployments to apprehend some of the province’s most wanted men.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi also directed the country’s counter-terrorism apparatus to free activist Sajjad al-Iraqi who has been kidnapped by forces affiliated with the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces).

The Media Cell said al-Kadhimi directed the joint operations command to conduct an immediate search for al-Iraqi, who was kidnapped in the city of Nasiriyah on Saturday.

The fate of the kidnapped activist remains unknown, although police have announced that the location of the kidnappers has been known since early on in their investigation.

Unidentified gunmen in three cars with tinted windows grabbed al-Iraqi and shot his friend Bassem Fleih, who was with him at the time. Fleih was rushed to the hospital.

The province of Dhi Qar has witnessed massive protests that have cut off most roads and bridges calling for justice to be done in the case of al-Iraqi and Fleih.

Sajjad al-Iraqi was known for his bold writings on social media. On 4 September he was threatened by a member of the Sadrist movement.

Since renewed protests earlier this year, there has been a series of high profile murders and attacks on activists in the country.