Iraq forms panel to investigate protester killings


Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi said on Saturday that his government had formed a committee to investigate the deaths of protesters in recent demonstrations.

His announcement comes a day after top Iraqi Shia Muslim cleric Ali al-Sistani set a two-week deadline for the country's authorities to bring to justice those who shot at protesters in the anti-government rallies that rocked Iraq this month.  

Abdel-Mahdi said the formation of the committee was in response to al-Sistani's call.

The panel comprises representatives of several ministries, security agencies, a top judicial authority, a human rights commission and parliament, according to Abdel-Mahdi.

"The committee aims at reaching objective and verified findings to bring the culprits to justice," he added in a press statement.

At least 108 people, including eight security personnel, were killed in the week-long protests in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, according to official figures.

On 1 October, thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of several provinces in the oil-rich country to protest against corruption, lack of jobs and poor services - in particular access to electricity and clean water.

The protests come one year after Abdel-Mahdi took office in Iraq, which is still grappling with a lengthy U.S.-backed military campaign against the Islamic State extremist group.    (dpa)

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