Iraqi president orders probe into shooting of protesters in Basra

Iraqi President Fuad Masum

Baghdad ( – Iraqi President Fuad Masum has ordered security and judicial bodies to open a probe into the shooting of a number of Iraqi protesters during a rally in Basra governorate earlier in the day.

In a statement by his media office, Masum called for taking all necessary measures to bring those responsible for the murder of an Iraqi protester and the injury of three others to trial as soon as possible.

“The right to protest and express opinion is guaranteed by the constitution for being a proper democratic process as long as it is practiced in a peaceful manner and not disturbing public order,” Masum said in his statement.

He also urged the government bodies to “enter into dialogue with the protesters and listen to their demands,” while warning them of using excessive violence against protesters under any circumstance.

Earlier in the day, security forces guarding oilfields in Talha district in Basra opened fire at a group of protesters, who gathered on the road leading to West Qurna Field, demanding job opportunities and improving the quality of petroleum and security services.

Mohsen al-Bahly, a spokesman for the protest, accused the Iraqi police of randomly opening fire at the demonstrators, leaving a 25-year-old young man dead and three others wounded.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry ordered a panel to be formed to open a probe into the case.

According to the ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Saad Maan, “the panel was directed to prepare a report on that score as soon as possible.”

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