After missing for a week, Iraqi film director Luay Fadhil found dead at Baghdad morgue

After missing for a week, Iraqi film director Luay Fadhil found dead at Baghdad morgue

Young Iraqi film director Luay Fadhil was found dead by police in the Tigris River in Baghdad after missing for a week in mysterious circumstances.   

Luay Fadhil, an Iraqi film director, was found dead at a Baghdad morgue on Monday after missing for six days in gloomy circumstances. [photo by the Iraqi Artists Syndicate on Facebook]

Luay Fadhil, an Iraqi film director, was found dead at a Baghdad morgue on Monday after he went missing for a week. Iraqi authorities say the body was found by police at the Tigris River in Baghdad and an investigation into the gloomy circumstances over his death is ongoing.

The Iraqi Artists Syndicate in a Facebook post expressed condolence for the loss of Fadhil, 41, and said he was an active member of the syndicate and had represented the country in many international festivals.

"Most speculations say that he was drowned in the Tigris River, however, the family of late Fadhil do not believe those speculations," friends of Fadhil have told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic sister language website.

Another friend of the director told the website that Fadhil was last seen on 13 June as he left the College of Fine Arts in Waziriyah, a neighbourhood located east of the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad.

لن يكون (لؤي فاضل) آخر ضحايا الميليشيات من المختَطفين بالعراق، فمنذ أن هدأت ثورة تشرين قررت إيران وميليشياتها تصفية كل ثوار تشرين بشتى طرق الاغتيال بالكواتم وغيرها، ولعل أحد أقذر وأقدم الأساليب حوادث الاصطدام بالسيارات اليومية.
على الشباب الانتباه إلى أنفسهم والحذر من القتَلَة.

— فائق الشيخ علي/كلمتي للتاريخ (@faigalsheakh) June 19, 2023

Interior Minister Lt Gen Abdul Amir Al Shammari ordered related police authorities in Baghdad to conduct an investigation into the circumstances of Fadhil's disappearance and death, Interior Ministry spokesperson Saad Maan said on Twitter.

Several Iraqi politicians and civil society activists have speculated that Fadhil's death was a "political assassination" committed by the Iraqi militias over episodes he directed for a Banj television drama in 2021. The drama was a tribute to more than 800 who were killed by the Iraqi security forces and Iran-backed militias during the 2019 October protests in Iraq.

Demonstrators, mostly of the younger generations, had camped out in the capital's Tahrir Square and other public squares from October 2019 until early 2020, decrying endemic corruption, poor services and unemployment by the former Iraqi government led by Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

Ultimately, Abdul-Mahdi was forced to resign and was replaced by Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who then was replaced by current Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani in October 2022. 

"Luay Fadhil will not be the last victim of the militias that hijacked Iraq… the youth should take care of themselves and the killers," Iraqi politician and one of the key figures in the October protests Faeq Sheikh Ali, alleged in a tweet.

"After training as a construction engineer, Fadhil took a course in film-making at the New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi. He has since directed seven short films. Lipstick (2012), about sex education classes at a boy's high school in Baghdad, won the Gold Award at the Festival International du Film Oriental de Genève 2014," according to Ruya Foundation.

"His most recent film Cotton (2013), about a young girl from a village outside Najaf, a holy city for Shi'a Muslims, won several awards including Best Director at the Dubai International Film Festival 2014," it added.

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