GENEVA — An Iraqi lawyer known for her work promoting women’s
rights has been killed by Islamic State fighters, the head of the United Nations
human rights office said on Thursday, continuing a pattern of attacks on
The lawyer, Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy, was seized from her home by Islamic
State fighters last week and tortured for several days before a masked firing
squad executed her in public on Monday, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United
Nations human rights commissioner, said in a statement.
Ms. Nuaimy had posted comments on her Facebook page condemning the “barbaric”
bombing and destroying of mosques and shrines in Mosul, a northern Iraqi city,
by the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL. She was
convicted of apostasy by a “so-called court,” Mr. Zeid said, adding that her
family had been barred from giving her a funeral.
The killing follows the execution of a number of Iraqi women in areas under
Islamic State control documented by United Nations monitors, including two
candidates contesting Iraq’s general election in Nineveh Province, who were
killed in July. A third female candidate was abducted by gunmen in eastern Mosul
and has not been heard from since.
United Nations monitors in Iraq have received numerous reports of executions of
women by Islamic State gunmen, some after perfunctory trials, the organization
said. “Educated, professional women seem to be particularly at risk,” it added.
These killings, together with abductions and the enslavement of women and
children, illustrate the “utterly poisonous nature” of the extremist group, Mr.
Zeid said, drawing attention to the plight of hundreds of women and girls of the
Yazidi religious minority and other ethnic and religious groups sold into
slavery, raped or forced into marriage after the group overran large areas of
“The fact that such groups try to attract more people to their cause by
asserting their acts are supported by Islam is a further gross perversion,” he
The high commissioner’s statement came as his deputy, Flavia Pansieri, told the
Human Rights Council in Geneva that the situation in Iraq had continued to
deteriorate even since the start of the month.
At least 8,493 civilians are believed to have died in the Iraqi conflict this
year, half of them between the start of June and the end of August, she
reported, but the United Nations has warned that the real number of casualties
could be much higher.
Information gathered by United Nations monitors on the situation in areas under
Islamic State control “reveals acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale,” she
A version of this article appears in print on September 26, 2014, on page A6 of
the New York edition with the headline: Iraq: Militants Kill Lawyer Who Aided