Iraqi social media influencer Ghufran Sawadi shot dead by unknown gunman

Iraqi TikToker
Iraqi social media influencer Ghufran Sawadi shot dead. Photo Courtesy:  Ghufran Sawadi X page

Iraqi social media influencer Ghufran Sawadi, better known as Umm Fahad, was shot dead by an unknown gunman outside her house in Baghdad on Friday (April 26, 2024).

The attack which took place in Zayouna area east of Baghdad, was caught in a surveillance camera.

The video has gone viral on social media.

In the video, an armed man, who is riding a motorcycle, could be seen gunning down the social media influencer.

A Baghdad police source confirmed the authenticity of the video to CNN.

An investigation into the incident has been launched.

The accused has not been identified so far.

The country’s Interior Minister announced on Friday that it was ‘forming a specialized work team to find out the circumstances of the killing of a woman known on social media by unknown assailants’, reported CNN.

What did Sawadi post on social media platforms?

Sawadi, who was popular on TikTok, was seen sharing her dance videos in form-fitting clothes on the platform.

She was mostly seen dancing to pop music.

Her videos were earlier deemed to be inappropriate by Iraq’s judiciary.

Sawadi was sentenced to six months in prison for “the crime of producing and publishing several films and videos containing obscene and indecent language, violating public decency and morals,” an Iraqi judiciary statement said as quoted by CNN.

The independent Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor reacted that time and said in a statement: “Iraqi authorities must rescind all prison sentences imposed on content creators, cease pursuing them and unjustifiably restricting their freedoms, and refrain from using the law to violate the rights guaranteed to individuals. The authorities must respect the right of individuals to freedom of opinion, expression, and publication, and refrain from taking any action that may undermine their freedoms and criminalise their exercise of their natural rights.”

Previous instances where social media influencers were targeted in Iraq

In September 2023, Iraqi TikTok personality, Noor Alsaffar, known as Noor BM, was shot dead in Baghdad.