Why Is the Iraqi Government Facing Accusations of Kidnapping this German Artist?

Published July 22nd, 2020 - 06:21 GMT
Why Is the Iraqi Government Facing Accusations of Kidnapping This German Artist?
Some social media commentators highlighted the militia's possible involvement in the assignation of political analyst and historian Hisham al-Hashimi earlier this month. (Twitter: @sebusher)

News of a German artist being kidnapped by unknown militants in one of Baghdad's most popular streets has ignited social media, where users expressed both shock and solidarity over the country's deteriorating security situation. Yet, a prominent Iranian-backed militia has accused the Iraqi government of kidnapping the German artist.

German activist and art institute director Hella Mewis was kidnapped in Abu Nawas street on Monday evening. The widely loved artist has been an avid enthusiast about Iraqi art and culture, which is why she's relocated to Iraq seven years ago, where she's been associating with art and cultural centers to organize exhibitions and art galleries across the country.

Using the #freedom_for_hella and #Free_Hella_Mewis hashtags, Iraqis have wished Mewis' safety and wondered whether her kidnappers are associated with certain political or militant groups in the country.

Amid the online momentum, a spokesman of Iranian-backed Kata'ib Hezbollah accused "terrorist groups affiliated with the Iraqi Prime Minister" of kidnapping the German artist, saying that 

Responding to the militia's statement, Iraqi social media users mocked Kata'ib Hezbollah saying that "Iraqi militias play innocent at a time everybody knows their crimes." Some social media commentators highlighted the militia's possible involvement in the assignation of political analyst and historian Hisham Al-Hashimi earlier this month in an attempt to link the two incidents.

Translation: "Joke of the day, Abu Ali Al-Askari is accusing Al-Kadhimi of kidnapping the German activist. Yesterday I said they'll only hold her for two days before they release her. It's like a movie!"

Translation: "The Iraqi Hezbollah militia is accusing Al-Kadhimi of kidnapping the German activist in order for him to mobilize people against militias. Isn't the public already against them? and why would the govt kidnap an activist? The issue with militias is that they're not only criminals, but also illogical stupids who make no sense."


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