An Iraqi journalist called for protection after being “brutally” attacked for her efforts in fighting corruption while refusing to confirm rumors about the culprits and ruling out the possibility of leaving the country.
Zahraa al-Moussawi published several online articles about corruption in the Iraqi government and received many threats before she was beaten up in a Baghdad street, she said in an interview with Al Arabiya TV.
“I was attacked in the Arasat district in the center of Iraq,” she said. “A group of armed men got off a four-wheel drive and started beating me up brutally.”
None of the assailants talked to her, but she knew they were Iraqis when one of them asked the others to go back to the car quickly, Moussawi said, adding that allegations she was stripped of her clothes in the street were false.
As Moussawi was attacked in the street, no passer-by had stepped forward to help her, she said, but added she did not blame anyone for not helping.
“They probably thought these were the security forces arresting a terrorist or something of that sort. It was also dangerous to interfere since the assailants were armed. Iraqis live in fear all the time and I can’t blame them.”
After the attack, Moussawi changed housing and now refuses to disclose where she lives.
Moussawi refused to confirm reports that her assailants were the security personnel of the son of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
“I do not know who is responsible for the attack and I will not allow anyone to use my case to serve their political agendas or for election purposes.”
Despite calling for protection and admitting she lives in constant fear, Moussawi insisted that she will never leave Iraq.
“The institute I work for is totally supporting me and many organizations offered to give me protection.”
Moussawi told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat about the details of the attack.
“I was shopping for household stuff in al-Arasat district when a white 4 x4 carrying five people stopped near me,” she said. “Three of the five men got off the car and started hitting me very hard.”
The assailants ran away quickly, leaving Moussawi lying on the floor and bleeding from her nose.
“I am sure they started following me since I left home,” she added.
Although her house was nearby, the injuries Moussawi sustained made it very hard for her to walk.
“I took a cab and asked the driver to call the Interior Ministry’s hotline for helping citizens.”
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)