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IRAQ: TWO MILITANTS GET DEATH SENTENCES FOR KILLING TWO JOURNALISTS

November 4, 2021:

Iraq’s Basra Criminal Court sentenced two men to death on 1 and 2 November 2021 for involvement in a death squad that killed multiple Iraqi journalists and activists.
According to Iraqi security officials, Hamza Kadhim al-Aidani and Aqeel Hadi were arrested in early 2021 with other members who worked as part of a “network of 16 people responsible for assassinations.”
The court’s conviction is preliminary and subject to a 30-day appeal period.
The victims were Ahmad Abdessamad, an Al-Dijla channel news correspondent, and his cameraman, Safaa Ghali, who covered the 2019 protests in Basra.
On 11 January 2020, as they were driving home, another car pulled up next to theirs and opened fire, killing Abdessamad on the spot and injuring Ghali, who later died in the hospital. 
During the 2019 mass protests, many took to the streets to protest against foreign interference in the country, lack of basic services and armed militias outside of state control. As a result, more than 600 were killed, 30,000 injured, and dozens of journalists and activists were systematically targeted. 
Before his assassination, Abdessamad informed his followers on social media that he had received death threats from militias because of covering the protesters and criticizing Iranian-backed militias. 
The Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council released a statement on 2 November that the convicted felons “confessed to all the details of this crime with a motive of destabilizing the country and spreading terror in the hearts of people and demonstrators."
Aidani confessed to being the driver in the death squad responsible for killing Abdessamad. He said the squad also consisted of Ahmad Twaisia as the team leader, Abbas Hashim to track the victim and shooter Ahmad Abdul-Karim. Aqeel Hadi, another member of this squad, was allegedly responsible for killing Mujtaba Ahmad, a 14-year-old protester in Basra. 
Only Aidani and Hadi have been arrested. The other members remain at large and have yet to be prosecuted.
A source in criminal court informed Al-Monitor that Aidani confessed that the squad received their orders from their superiors in Katai’b Hezbollah (KH) to systematically target and kill activists, journalists and also members of Iraqi security forces. The superiors convinced their followers that the orders were fatwas issued by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

(Sources: Al-monitor, 02/11/2021)

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IRAN - Saeed … executed in Rajai Shahr Prison on November 4
IRAN - Mohammadali Alizadeh executed in Zahedan on 4 November 2021
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IRAN - Abdullah … executed in Mashhad Prison on November 3
IRAN - Manouchehr Kazemi-Varmaleh executed in Rajai Shahr Prison on November 3
IRAQ: TWO SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING PROTESTOR
IRAN - Juvenile offender Arman Abdolali’s execution postponed for the fifth time
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SAUDI ARABIA: MAN EXECUTED FOR ATTEMPT TO KILL SECURITY FORCES
BANGLADESH: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING WIFE IN KHULNA
IRAN - Mohammad Eghbal-Raisi executed in Shiraz Prison on November 2
INDIA: 4 SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR 2013 GANDHI MAIDAN BLASTS IN PATNA; JAIL FOR 5 OTHERS
PAKISTAN: TWO SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING FOUR SISTERS
USA - Oklahoma. Parole Board Again Recommends Commuting Julius Jones’ Death Sentence

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