GENEVA – Geneva Council for rights and Justice (GCRJ) has condemned the assassination of Iraqi writer and novelist Alaa Mashzoob by unknown gunmen, saying it was a horrific crime and a new escalation of violating the right to freedom of expression.
GCRJ, an international human rights organization, said that repeated incidents of murder, arbitrary arrests, and threats against journalists, writers, activists and artists in Iraq reflected a deliberate intention to silence free voice and criticism, although official authorities respected the rights of citizens to freedom of expression and assembly.
The Council delivered statements and testimonies that gunmen shot the 51-year-old Alaa Mashzoob, who died instantly in front of his home in Karbala, about 100 km southwest of Baghdad.
Al Mashzoob is a member of the Artists Syndicate, the Journalists Syndicate, the General Union of Writers, and a member of the Society for Peace and Solidarity in Iraq. He wrote a number of novels, most notably “The Chaos of the Nation” in 2014, which was selected among the top five books at the Abu Dhabi exhibition.
Ala Mozhoub also directed a number of documentary films, including “Doors and Windows”, which won the second prize at a short films festival.
The hideous crime was added to the series of assassinations in the Iraqi cultural scene at the end of last year, where activists, artists, bloggers, and fashion models were targeted, among them Tareh Fares, who was shot dead in central Baghdad
GCRJ warned that continued impunity for the killing of journalists, writers, and artists in Iraq allows a culture of violence to continue and represents a serious escalation aimed at public freedoms in the country.
The Council calls on the Iraqi authorities to open an independent, impartial and thorough investigation into the assassination of Alaa Mashzoob, prosecute the perpetrators and bring them to justice and try them in accordance with international standards, stressing their responsibility to protect public freedoms, especially the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press.