Iraqi security forces free kidnapped activist Ali al-Mikdam

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Iraqi security forces freed activist and journalist Ali al-Mikdam who was kidnapped on Friday in Baghdad’s Karada neighborhood after receiving threats, local media reported.

The security forces have transferred al-Mikdam to a hospital.

The disappearance led to the launch of a campaign on social media to demand the authorities to take quick measures to find him.

Ali al-Mikdam, a civil activist from Baghdad, worked as a paramedic during the October demonstrations.

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In a months-long revolt launched in October 2019, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators camped out in Baghdad and southern cities to demand a total overhaul of a political system failing to deliver basic services and salaries.

About 600 protesters were killed and 30,000 wounded in clashes with security forces before the movement lost momentum then ground to a halt in the spring due to the coronavirus crisis and rising US-Iran tensions.

Al-Mikdam was also known for his repeated calls to the international community, for the necessity of moving against Iran-backed militias and corrupt politicians in Iraq.

An Iraqi journalist published a tweet on his Twitter account on Friday evening, confirming the disappearance of al-Mikdam, saying: “We have lost contact with journalist and activist Ali al-Mikdam since five in the evening. His last appearance was in Karada at Ridha Alwan Cafe.”

Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kadhemi had pledged to hold the killers of demonstrators and activists accountable, and to stop the kidnappings and assassinations against them.

The arrest of the leader of the Iranian Popular Mobilization militia, Qassem Mosleh, for his involvement in the assassination of activists last May sparked confusion in the country, after factions from the crowd mobilized and paraded their weapons in Baghdad, rejecting the matter.

The judiciary returned and released him later, due to insufficient evidence against him in the case of the assassination of activist Ihab al-Wazni in Karbala.

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