Iraqi Human Rights Activist Executed

3265290852_7429ffef31_z1As a feminist, I often think about how my voice is policed by others. My opinions are strong and can result in stereotypical name calling: man-hater, bitch, angry feminist, ugly, etc. But those are just words—in places such as Iraq, being a strong and opinionated woman can be fatal.

A week ago in Mosul, human rights activist and lawyer Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy was executed by the extremists of the Islamic State (ISIS, or ISIL). Her crime? She posted criticism on Facebook about ISIS bombing and destroying mosques and shrines throughout the city.

Two people with direct knowledge of the incident told the Associated Press that ISIS extremists kidnapped her September 17 at her home in front of her husband and three children. A self-proclaimed religious court found her guilty of apostasy and ordered her execution by firing squad in Mosul’s public square. When her body was retrieved by family, they saw evidence of torture.

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Since ISIS has gained increasing control in Mosul, outspoken and educated women are becoming a target for the regime. As The New York Times explained,

These killings, together with abductions and the enslavement of women and children, illustrate the ‘utterly poisonous nature’ of the extremist group, Mr. Zeid said, drawing attention to the plight of hundreds of women and girls of the Yazidi religious minority and other ethnic and religious groups sold into slavery, raped or forced into marriage after the group overran large areas of northern Iraq.

Al-Nuaimy was a highly respected community figure who worked with women and people of lower economic standing. As Deseret News quoted The Gulf Center for Human Rights,

… al-Nuaim[y] had worked on detainee rights and poverty. The Bahrain-based rights organization said her death ‘is solely motivated by her peaceful and legitimate human rights work, in particular defending the civil and human rights of her fellow citizens in Mosul.’

Sadly, al-Nuaimy’s execution isn’t the last we are going to hear about ISIS terrorizing women. According to The New York Times, two women candidates who opposed Iraqi’s general election were found dead in July and a third candidate is believed to have been abducted by a gunman but a body has yet to be found.

Its not hard to understand why ISIS is threatened by al-Nuaimy and women like her. Those willing to speak out and act against injustices are damaging to a fascist regime.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user carnagenyc licensed under Creative Commons 2.0



Abeni Moreno graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Women Gender Sexuality Studies in 2013. She is a volunteer radio co-host at KPFK, Kbeach and is a Ms. intern. Follow her on Twitter @abenimoreno8.