Islamic State militants in Iraq have publicly executed a human rights lawyer in the city of Mosul after declaring her an apostate in an Islamic religious court, United Nations officials said.
Newser reports, Samira Salih al-Nuaimi was found guilty of posting messages on Facebook that were critical of militants’ destruction of holy places in the city. The so-called Sharia court found her guilty of apostasy, or denouncing the Islamic faith.
Under the strict brand of Islamic law practiced by the Islamic State, apostasy rulings can apply to those who not only convert from Islam to another religion but also to those who criticize the faith.
The Islamic State, which is also sometimes referred to ISIS or ISIL, had been destroying mosques and other religious sites in Mosul for months. In July, Al-Arabiya News reported militants destroyed an 8th century shrine to the Prophet Jonah. Jonah is a meaningful figure in both the Islamic and Christian traditions. Sources reported at the time that militants were also destroying other mosques in the area that they believed were heretical.
Gunmen associated with the Islamic State took al-Nuaimi from her Mosul home, where she lived with her husband and three children, last week. Sources, who asked The Associated Press for anonymity because they feared for their safety, said she was taken to a secret location. Five days later the family was called by a morgue and told to retrieve her body, the sources said.
Officials with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq said they believed she had been tortured for the five days prior to her public execution.
“By torturing and executing a female human rights' lawyer and activist, defending in particular the civil and human rights of her fellow citizens in Mosul, ISIL continues to attest to its infamous nature, combining hatred, nihilism and savagery, as well as its total disregard of human decency,” said U.N. envoy to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, in a statement.
The statement did not indicate how al-Nuami was killed.
The execution is the latest in a string of similar incidents in which Islamic State militants have executed female activists and politicians in Iraq. In July the group killed a female candidate in a local provincial council election in Sderat and abducted another female politician who has not yet been found.
Hanaa Edwer, another Iraqi human rights activist, said at least five female activists have been killed in recent weeks.
“But it is not just women being targeted,” Edwer said. “They will kill anyone with a voice. It is terrifying.”