Hours before about 25 million Iraqis head to polls to cast their votes in the 2021 Council of Representatives of Iraq elections, social media users mourned the loss of a young Iraqi man who had posted a cartoon mocking elections last week.
Facebook page in support of #Iraq_protests posted a cartoon describes the voters of one of the political blocs as a herd of sheep. Yesterday, the admin of this page was kidnapped, and today his body was found in the river in Al-Diwaniyah, southern Iraq. https://t.co/pijPA5scoa— Mustafa Salim (@Mustafa_salimb) October 9, 2021
Using a Facebook account with the pseudonym "Safaa Al Sarai," 15-years old Haydar Mohammad had posted a cartoon on the 6th of October 2021, four days before elections, describing people who intend to take part in elections "as sheep," in a call to boycott this year's vote.
The cartoon has been particularly interpreted as mocking statements by leading Iraqi politician and cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who called on his followers to cast their votes, considering "it's the Iraqi way towards reform".
As Iraqis prepare to vote in a few hours, Tishreen protestors Haydar Muhammad was found dead and thrown in a river in al-Diwaniyah.— Layal Shakir (@layalshakirr) October 9, 2021
He went missing reportedly 4 days ago, after mocking Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in a Facebook post.#حيدر_محمد_شهيد pic.twitter.com/VGojizpe7Z
A teenager was found killed in southern Iraq for his poster below that he published on his Facebook account criticizing the Iraqi religious leader and cleric Muqtada Al Sadr #حيدر_محمد_شهيد #اصلاح_مقتدى_الدموي #انهاء_الافلات_من_العقاب pic.twitter.com/0pza8gee51— Rand (@Randfm_) October 9, 2021
Haydar's Facebook account shows that he is a supporter of the anti-government protests that erupted across the country in October 2019. During the months-long protests that were disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, thousands of Iraqis took to the streets in demand of an end to corruption, accusing the political elite of promoting it for its own benefit.
Translation: "We are coming: towards reform"
According to his family and friends, Haydar's body was found in the Euphrates river near Al Diwaniyah city, which has been believed to be connected to his call to boycott elections.
Haydar's internet pseudonym "Safaa Al Sarai" refers to a well-known political activist who was killed in October 2019 and has since been considered "the icon of the Iraqi uprising."
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