ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A video of an Iraqi official’s bodyguards beating a traffic police officer has gone viral on Iraqi social media.
The footage, filmed by a bystander who witnessed the incident, shows several guards dressed in uniform, reportedly employed by an Iraqi official, punching a traffic policeman who tried to stop them from overtaking traffic at a busy intersection.
The incident occurred on Saturday in Aden Square in Baghdad’s Kadhimiya area.
“The policeman tried to prevent the guards’ vehicle from crossing the intersection as he was letting cars coming from the other side go through,” an eyewitness told Kurdistan 24.
Aden Square often experiences chaotic traffic, especially at the intersection as traffic lights regularly malfunction or lose power. As a result, police officers commonly direct traffic at the intersection using fluorescent batons or hand signals.
The footage showed a confrontation between the guards and the traffic guard before it escalated into a beating, with people gathering around and blocking the road.
The incident highlights the influence of officials who at times act with impunity and disregard laws in a country wrought with instability and insecurity since the fall of the authoritarian system in 2003.
“The aggressors have been arrested and are now being kept in jail in the al-Hurriyah prison,” near Kadhimiya, a security source said, a predominantly Shia neighborhood.
A security source in Baghdad, who asked to remain unidentified, revealed that the bodyguards belonged to the head of Baghdad Provincial Council, Riyad al-Adadh.
Under Iraqi law, anyone who insults an employee or a person carrying out a public service is liable to imprisonment for a term which does not exceed two years.
“The policeman was just doing his job... The bodyguards may be detained for hours or a few days, but we all know that there is no way they will stay in jail for a long time. This country is full of corruption, and the rule of law is hardly implemented in Iraq,” said Jabar Hakim, a social media activist who expressed his disappointment after the incident, pointing to the challenges in bringing perpetrators and officials to justice.
Editing by Nadia Riva