By Ali Jawad
BAGHDAD (AA) - Iraqi security forces dispersed dozens of protesters outside a court in Iraq’s southern Al-Muthanna province where a rights activist was sentenced on Tuesday to six years behind bars for libel and “insulting state institutions”.
“Riot police forcibly dispersed an unauthorized demonstration involving dozens of activists outside the Al-Muthanna Appeals Court,” Police Major-General Manaf Abdul-Karim told Anadolu Agency.
Police used batons, teargas and water hoses to break up the protest, said Abdul-Karim, adding that a number of demonstrators had been hurt in the melee.
On Tuesday, the court sentenced Bassem Khazaal, an Iraqi rights activist, to six years in jail for “insulting and defaming government institutions”.
In recent years, Khazaal -- writing under the pseudonym “Qassim” -- has exposed numerous cases of government corruption, some of which have involved local officials, including Al-Muthanna Governor Faleh al-Zaidi and provincial council members.