On April 9, 2014, Professor Dr. Khalid Al Muraj, a renowned ophthalmologist who had recently retired from the College of Medicine at the University of Basrah, was murdered by unidentified assailants. The men reportedly entered Dr. Al Muraj’s home in Basrah City, and beheaded him. As of this report, no additional information was known about the assailants or their motives.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparently targeted killing of a professor. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and freedom of expression in the region. State authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of academic communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.