On June 20, 2014, Professor Osama al-Rawi, a physics professor at al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, was reportedly kidnapped, along with two of his sons, by unidentified armed militia from their home in the al-Jami’a neighborhood in Baghdad’s city center. Their bodies were found 24 hours later in the al-Baya’a neighborhood located on the southern outskirts of Baghdad. They had been shot. No one has claimed responsibility for the crime.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the kidnapping and apparently targeted killing of a higher education professional and members of his family. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and institutional autonomy. State officials have a responsibility to ensure the security of higher education communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.