SHAFAQNA – An Iraqi lawyer known for her work promoting women’s rights has been killed by Islamic State fighters, the head of the United Nations human rights office said on Thursday, continuing a pattern of attacks on professional women. The lawyer, Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy, was seized from her home by Islamic State fighters last week and tortured for several days before a masked firing squad executed her in public on Monday, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations human rights commissioner, said in a statement.
Ms. Nuaimy had posted comments on her Facebook page condemning the “barbaric” bombing and destroying of mosques and shrines in Mosul, a northern Iraqi city, by the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL. She was convicted of apostasy by a “so-called court,” Mr. Zeid said, adding that her family had been barred from giving her a funeral.
The killing follows the execution of a number of Iraqi women in areas under Islamic State control documented by United Nations monitors, including two candidates contesting Iraq’s general election in Nineveh Province, who were killed in July. A third female candidate was abducted by gunmen in eastern Mosul and has not been heard from since.
United Nations monitors in Iraq have received numerous reports of executions of women by Islamic State gunmen, some after perfunctory trials, the organization said. “Educated, professional women seem to be particularly at risk,” it added.
These killings, together with abductions and the enslavement of women and children, illustrate the “utterly poisonous nature” of the extremist group, Mr. Zeid said, drawing attention to the plight of hundreds of women and girls of the Yazidi religious minority and other ethnic and religious groups sold into slavery, raped or forced into marriage after the group overran large areas of northern Iraq.
“The fact that such groups try to attract more people to their cause by asserting their acts are supported by Islam is a further gross perversion,” he said.
The high commissioner’s statement came as his deputy, Flavia Pansieri, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva that the situation in Iraq had continued to deteriorate even since the start of the month.
At least 8,493 civilians are believed to have died in the Iraqi conflict this year, half of them between the start of June and the end of August, she reported, but the United Nations has warned that the real number of casualties could be much higher.
Information gathered by United Nations monitors on the situation in areas under Islamic State control “reveals acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale,” she said.