Gunmen kidnap Iraqi female journalist

BAGHDAD, IRAQ- Gunmen have kidnapped an Iraqi female journalist after posing as members of the security forces and bursting into her home in Baghdad, authorities said on Tuesday.
Afrah Shawqi was abducted on Monday at around 10:00 pm (1900 GMT) from her home in a southern neighbourhood of the capital, said Ziad al-Ajili, head of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory.

"Eight armed men burst into her house in Saidiya dressed in plain clothes and entered by pretending to belong to the security forces," he told AFP.
"They tied up her son and stole mobile phones, computers and cash before kidnapping Afrah and fleeing."
The report was confirmed by a source in Iraq's interior ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Shawqi, 43, is employed by Asharq al-Awsat, a London-based pan-Arab newspaper, as well as a number of news websites, including Aklaam.
On Monday she published a stinging article on the website in which she hit out at the armed groups which "act with impunity" in Iraq.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi condemned her abduction and ordered the security services to do their utmost find her and track down those responsible.
Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also voiced concern and urged Abadi to make good on his pledge to find her "as soon as possible".
"We are extremely concerned and firmly condemn this abduction," RSF chief editor Virginie Dangles said in a statement.
"We urge the prime minister to keep his word to do everything possible to find Afrah Shawqi and those responsible for taking her.
"We also point out that the government has a duty to improve the safety of journalists in Iraq," she added.
The watchdog gave Shawqi's age as 38 and said she was also the "head of women's issues for the Iraqi culture ministry and is active in the defence of human rights".
Iraq is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, along with Syria, Afghanistan and Mexico.
Seven journalists have been killed in the country in 2016, according to RSF which says Iraq ranked 158th out of 180 countries in its 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

Wednesday, December 28th 2016

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