Iraq: Journalist kidnapped in Baghdad has been released

Baghdad: Iraqi journalist, Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi, who was abducted from her Baghdad home last week has been released.

“Thank God, I’m fine,” Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi told the local NRT satellite TV station on Tuesday, shortly after her release. “They treated me well. They just interrogated me and thank God they found me not guilty,” she added, without providing further details.

Gunmen who said they were members of the security forces asked to search her home last Monday before abducting her.

They also took gold, money, phones, laptops and her car. Her sister, Nibras, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Iraqi security forces had sealed off the area around the journalist’s home and were questioning her. The sister declined to elaborate on who was behind the kidnapping.

Iraq is considered one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, who have been frequently targeted by militant groups since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam

Hussein. Dozens of journalists have been killed while covering military operations.

Al-Qaisi, a veteran journalist who is also an employee of the Culture Ministry, is a prominent critic of Iraq’s endemic corruption and government mismanagement.

In one of her articles, published in a local media outlet nearly a week before her kidnapping, she criticised an Interior Ministry officer who badly beat a school principal in front of students and teachers for refusing to punish a pupil who quarrelled with the official’s daughter.