According to news reports, outspoken Iraqi novelist Alaa Mashzoub was fired on by gunmen in front of his Karbala home on Saturday. He was struck by 13 bullets and died at the scene:
Mashzoub was 50.
In the hours before his death, according to NAS News, Mashzoub had been meeting with fellow writers at his home near the city center. According to Kitabat, the shooting took place in the evening, in a secure zone that should have been closed off. The shooters reportedly arrived on motorcycles.
Karbala is about 100 kilometers southwest of Baghdad.
Mashzoub was known as an outspoken writer who published in a variety of newspapers and wrote several novels, including The Chaos of the Nation (2014) Crime on Facebook (2015), and The Jewish Baths (2017). He had been recognized by a number of filmmaking and writing prizes, including a Katara Prize for Arabic Fiction and a prize for his documentary film, Doors and Windows.
A number of writers and journalists expressed shock at his death:
HORRIBLE. #Iraq-i novelist and critic Alaa Mashzoub assassinated in Karbalaa today with 13 bullets.
He criticized radicalism, ISIS, Iran rulers & its militias. Penned work about Iraqi Jewish minority, history of Karbalaa & many novels. Will we see justice? RIP v @BaxtiyarGoran pic.twitter.com/K6kFJCrHRk
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) February 2, 2019
ويستمر اغتيال الأصوات العراقية الحرة في كل الأزمنة
الرحمة لروح علاء مشذوب واللعنة على قتلته
إذا لم تكشف الحكومة عن المجرمين ومحاسبتهم فهي شريكة لهم
أما نحن فمستمرون بالكتابة عن كل ما يزعج الجهل المقدس وسوف يلد العراق 13 كاتباً جديدا مقابل الـ 13 رصاصة التي اغتالت #علاء_مشذوب pic.twitter.com/8iyODESvYR
— Muhsin Al-Ramli (@MuhsinAlRamli) February 3, 2019
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) Sunday issued a statement condemning the assassination and expressing “its deep concern over the violation of the right to freedom of expression, including the murder of human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and bloggers who continue their work bravely despite the risks of violence. GCHR notes that ongoing impunity in the murders of journalists and writers in Iraq allows a culture of violence to continue. The authors of such crimes as well as the perpetrators must be brought to justice.”