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Afrah Shawqi: First Days of Abduction were Terrifying - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Baghdad- Iraqi journalist Afrah Shawqi was released on Tuesday night, ten days after gunmen abducted her from her house in Baghdad.

Shawqi said during a press conference she held on Wednesday that she was put in a cell for nine days, blindfolded, and underwent interrogation concerning her journalistic career.

Shawqi revealed that an unknown group of government intelligence bodies interrogated her regarding her journalist activity and writings. She added that the investigation mainly focused on her posts on Facebook.

“Four days after my abduction, their attitude towards me began taking a serious turn … The release was conditional: not to identify my kidnappers. They returned me to where I was abducted before nine days,” she said.

She added: “I panicked during the first five days but later they appeared to be treating me well – investigations started to be more flexible and I had a feeling that I will be released.”

Unknown persons had raided the house of Shawqi only hours after she published an online article on the groups that “act with impunity” in Iraq.

The press office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a statement, calling for holding accountable any party proven to be an accomplice in the kidnapping, in targeting citizens’ safety and intimidating journalists.

A security source said that three masked gunmen, in three pickups with no license plates, raided the house of Shawqi, attacking her family members, and stealing jewellery, money and her vehicle before kidnapping her.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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