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Afrah Shawqi: First Days of Abduction were Terrifying | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Protesters demand the release of kidnapped journalist Afrah Shawqi, seen pictured in posters, in Baghdad. The journalist was released on January 3. Karim Kadim / AP Photo

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.