Iraq: Model/actor found dead after being reported missing

14 July 2017
Karar Nushi, a young actor, model and student at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad was found dead on 3 July 2017 after having been declared missing.
Photo: Karar Nushi/Facebook


Karar Nushi, a young actor, fashion model and student at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad was found dead, in an apparent homicide, on 3 July 2017 after having been declared missing, reported Iraqi News.

Nushi’s body was found in a garbage dump in central Baghdad two days after he was abducted by unknown persons. The Ministry of Interior has yet to announce any suspects in the alleged murder, reported Dostor on 4 July 2017.

The Iraqi Presidency called for an investigation into the killings and the arrest of the people responsible, reported Aliraqnet on 4 July 2017.

“We strongly denounce the murder of Karar Nushi, an Institute of Fine Arts student, after he was abducted two days ago and killed by unknown persons,” the presidential press office said in a statement. “The perpetration of such crimes reminds [people of] the law of the jungle and harms the reputation of the country. (…) The perpetrators deserve to be punished in accordance with the law.’’

It remains unclear why the young artist was killed, though police have reported that he recently received death threats over his choice of clothes and hairstyle, reported Al-Araby on 11 July 2017.

Non-traditional looks
Nushi was known for his interest in fashion and his non-traditional looks, as well as his interest in defending his homeland and his freedom of having a different appearance, and often posted photos on his Facebook account promoting his theatrical and modelling work.

He caused a buzz in Iraq after photos of him as a candidate to be the Iraqi King of Beauty spread across social media. Nushi denied the rumour, responding that “the true Iraqi King of Beauty is every young man who fights with honour to defend his country”, reported Lahamag on 4 July 2017.

Nushi’s brother, Abdullah, denied that his brother had received direct death or kidnapping threats, but confirmed that Karar was subject to violent criticism for his social media posts about his appearance and the length and colour of his hair, reported Al-Arabia on 7 July 2017.

Another artist, Malik Abdoun, has received similar criticism over his appearance, the news site reported.

A warning call
Mohammed al-Salami, president of the Association for the Defence of Human Rights, warned Iraqi society that Nushi’s killing underlines a threat to individual freedom in Iraq and warned of the creation of ISIS-like organisations, reported Waradana on 4 July 2017.

“This behaviour is no different from what happened in Mosul society … and it begins to curtail freedoms and prevent cultures to exist in society,” he told the news site.

On 10 July, Iraqi intellectuals and artists in Baghdad organized a protest denouncing the abduction and murder of Nushi, calling themselves the “Group of Virtue”. Some saw the protest as a challenge against the radical militias involved in a series of killings and kidnappings of activists, journalists and artists, and attacks on clubs, cultural salons and secular meetings.

According to these radical groups, anyone can be targeted, especially those who have different appearances and hairstyles, as well as cultural, political or social positions.

In less than a year the situation for Iraqis in Baghdad has grown increasingly dangerous with more than 300 people having formed kidnapping gangs in the city, and dozens of others who carry out armed robberies and killings, reported Al-Arabiya.

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