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An activist has been sentenced to 3 years in jail in Iraq for allegedly writing a tweet deemed to have insulted an Iran-backed paramilitary drive.

A courtroom convicted Haidar al-Zaidi, 20, of “insulting state establishments” over a put up about Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the late deputy commander of the Widespread Mobilisation Forces (PMF).

Zaidi denied writing the tweet, insisting that his account was hacked.

Human Rights Watch condemned Zaidi’s trial as “patently unfair”.

“No matter who posted the Twitter message, the Iraqi justice system shouldn’t be used to as a device to suppress peaceable criticism of the authorities or armed actors,” mentioned Adam Coogle, the marketing campaign group’s deputy Center East director.

“It’s a unhappy reflection on the rule of regulation in Iraq that an activist like Zaidi will get three years in jail for a Twitter put up he says he did not write whereas dozens of officers and armed teams take pleasure in impunity for killing activists and protesters.”

Zaidi was arrested in June in reference to a tweet that included {a photograph} of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and lamented how solely in Iraq would a “spy” be given the label of “martyr”.

Muhandis was the chief of Kataib Hezbollah, a strong Iran-backed Iraqi Shia Muslim militia designated by the US as a terrorist group.

He was additionally deputy commander of the PMF, an umbrella group of dozens of primarily Shia militias that’s formally a part of the Iraqi Safety Forces however in follow operates independently and wields vital energy.

In January 2020, Muhandis was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad alongside prime Iranian normal Qasem Soleimani.

Many Iraqis mourned the 2 males as martyrs, however some celebrated their deaths.

Each Iran and its militia allies have been accused of being behind the killings of tons of of protesters who took to Iraq’s streets in late 2019 to protest in opposition to deteriorating public companies, excessive unemployment, and rampant corruption.

They’ve additionally been blamed for an assassination marketing campaign in opposition to distinguished activists vital of their affect.

Activists in Baghdad advised Human Rights Watch that the PMF have been accountable for Zaidi’s arrest and {that a} committee throughout the PMF filed the authorized grievance in opposition to him.

Human rights activist Salman Khairallah mentioned the sentence was a “clear message to activists that any criticism of authorities and the PMF will likely be punished”.

By Maggi

"Greetings! I am a media graduate with a diverse background in the news industry. From working as a reporter to producing content, I have a well-rounded understanding of the field and a drive to stay at the forefront of the industry." When I'm not writing content, I'm Playing and enjoying with my Kids.

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