On Monday last week, journalist Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi published an article alleging a local government figure assaulted a teacher. Hours later she was kidnapped from her home in Baghdad by eight gunmen claiming to be members of the security forces. The article was one of many Ms Qaisi has written on corruption and human rights.

Several people were injured while protesting Ms Qaisi’s abduction, after police fired tear gas and possibly live rounds in to the crowd.

Update: Ms Qaisi has been released

The Middle East Eye has this recent report on how kidnappings have become much more common – and very lucrative – in Baghdad.

From Deutsche Welle

Iraqi journalist freed week after apparent kidnapping

“Thank God, I’m fine,” 43-year-old al-Qaisi told the local NRT satellite TV station after her release.

“They treated me well. They just interrogated me and thank God they found me not guilty,” she added.

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From the BBC

Iraq gunmen kidnap campaigning female journalist

The head of the Baghdad-based Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, Ziyad al-Ajeeli, said eight armed men had arrived at Ms Qaisi’s house at about 22:00 (19:00 GMT) on Monday, claiming to be members of the security forces.

Before taking Ms Qaisi to an unknown location, the gunmen tied up her 16-year-old son, assaulted her brother-in-law, and stole her car, gold, money, mobile phones and computers, Mr Ajeeli added.

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From Reuters

Kidnapped Iraqi woman journalist released unharmed after a week

The head of the Iraqi Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, Ziyad al-Ajili, said on Wednesday the kidnappers had returned the car, telephone, laptop and gold jewelry they took when they broke into her home and that she drove back overnight around midnight.

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From Iraqi News

Security shoot at protesters in Baghdad condemning journalist kidnapping

One demonstrator was wounded in the head due to the shooting, said protesters.

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said protesters had also approached the heavily-fortified Green Zone, home of the Iraqi Cabinet and foreign embassies buildings. It held the government responsible for injuries among the protesters and urged immediate investigation into the assault, as well as to declare the whereabouts of the kidnapped journalist and the arrested demonstrators.

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From the Middle East Eye

Criminal kidnappings are big business in Baghdad

Iraqi security officials reached by MEE refused to give any specific numbers for the criminal abductions in Baghdad, but a source with access to Interior Ministry records told MEE these show 745 registered instances of kidnapping in the capital in the first nine months of 2016.

A further 30 non-registered kidnappings were known to the police for the same period; in these, the families of the victims did not officially inform the security authorities as by keeping quiet “they believe that they would maintain the lives of their kidnapped relatives,” the source said.

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