UPDATE: Kidnapped German Art Curator Hella Mewis Is Rescued In Iraq

  • July 21, 2020 15:01

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Screenshot of Hella Mewis appearing in "Stamba in Baghdad," a documentary by Issam Hassan

(Update 7/24/20) An Iraqi security official cited by the Associated Press said German art curator Hella Mewis was released in a security operation outside Baghdad.

A German art curator was kidnapped on Monday night by unidentified miltants in Baghdad, according to multiple reports.

Berlin-born Hella Mewis, who is associated with the Goethe Institute in Baghdad, runs an arts program at the Iraqi art collective Beit Tarkib. She had left her office on bicycle when she was abducted in central Baghdad, said Ali al-Bayati, a member of the semi-official Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights.

Mewis disappeared around 8 pm "when two cars, one of them a white pickup truck used by some security forces, were seen kidnapping her," according to a source quoted by news agency AFP.

Dhikra Sarsam, a friend of Mewis, wrote in a social media post that police officers witnessed the kidnapping but did not intervene, reports Deutsche Welle. "Hella expected to be kidnapped because we all expect this fate," she wrote.

Mewis, who has lived in Baghdad for several years, has worked on human rights issues while coordinating the art collective with the goal to promote the work of young Iraqi artists. 

Friends and activists on social media are calling for her release using the hashtag #freedom_for_hella.

Read more at Deutsche Welle

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