Iraqi man sentenced to death for 2019 murder of activist

Kifah Al Guraiti convicted of killing Thaer Al Tayeb, who died in a car bombing

More than 600 people were killed after anti-government protests erupted across central and southern Iraq in 2019. AFP
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An Iraqi court has sentenced a man to death over the 2019 killing of an activist who had taken part in protests against the government that year.

Kifah Al Guraiti was sentenced to death by a criminal court in the southern province of Qadisiyah for the killing of Thaer Al Tayeb, the judiciary said on Tuesday.

Al Tayeb died in December 2019 from injuries sustained when a bomb detonated in his car, according to the Supreme Judicial Council.

The explosion occurred following his participation in a Baghdad protest.

Al Guraiti's execution order needs to be signed by Iraq's president. He has 30 days to appeal.

More than 600 people were killed after anti-government protests erupted across central and southern Iraq in October 2019. The protest movement, led mainly by unemployed youth, called for more jobs, better services, an end to endemic corruption and an overhaul of the political system.

Although the protests resulted in the government's resignation, many of the movement's demands have yet to be met.

Tens of thousands were also wounded during the demonstrations, according to estimates from human rights groups.

Some activists died in targeted assassinations, including former government adviser Hisham Al Hashimi, who was shot outside his home in July 2020.

Iran-backed militias and members of the security forces are believed to be behind the deaths and intimidation of protesters.

Although departing Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi has repeatedly vowed to seek justice for the hundreds killed, most of the deaths have gone unpunished.

Two people were sentenced to death last year over the killing of a teenager who joined the protests.

Last year, the UN warned that Iraqi activists were being killed with impunity.

“The rights of many victims and their families to truth, justice, redress and reparation have not been fully respected,” it said in a report.

Updated: October 25, 2022, 6:49 PM