Iraqi PM visits critic of Iran-backed militias after abduction, assault

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi pays a hospital visit to a pro-democracy activist who has been critical of pro-Iran armed factions, after the campaigner had been abducted and assaulted.

Ali al-Mikdam, a young Iraqi journalist, activist and researcher, had disappeared on Friday, sparking widespread concern from his friends and supporters, before he was released late Saturday, injured, on the outskirts of Baghdad.

A tweet from Khademi’s office says the premier checked up “on the health of journalist and activist Ali al-Mikdam in one of Baghdad’s hospitals after security forces released him from his kidnappers.”

Mikdam was a key figure in anti-government protests which swept Iraq for months from October 2019 calling for the removal of Iraq’s political class, which activists branded as inept and corrupt.

The protesters also rallied against the influence of Iran in the war-battered country, where powerful pro-Tehran armed factions have been integrated into the national security apparatus.

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