Security forces make arrest in killing of Basra protester
Security forces arrested a suspect in connection with the killing of a protester in Basra on Friday, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry announced Saturday morning.
“As part of their efforts to uncover circumstances that led to the death of a protester in Basra province during Bahriya Square protests on Friday, the security forces arrested the murderer who frankly confessed his crime,” tweeted Saad Maan, director of relations and information department at the Iraqi Interior Ministry.
He did not identify the suspect, but said an investigation has been launched and they will prioritize sending him to court.
Omar Fadhel was shot dead in Basra on Friday as hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police. He was the first demonstrator killed since October 1 this year, the one year anniversary of the start of the protest movement in which nearly 600 people have been killed, mostly in clashes with security forces.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said on Saturday his government “will not tolerate any of its security members ignoring orders to not use bullets against protesters, as happened in Basra.”
He said that security forces are “serious” about not allowing anyone to distort their image. He also confirmed the arrest in the killing of Fadhel and vowed the suspect will “receive his fair penalty.”
The youth-led demonstrations are demanding an overhaul of the political system, ousting the ruling class which it accuses of corruption.
The demonstrations brought down the government of former Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and forced reforms to the electoral system that were signed into law on Thursday.
The protests, however, dwindled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Late last month, authorities cleared the protest camp in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, signaling a return to normal. But demonstrators returned to the streets in southern Iraq within days. Source