Female Iraqi journalist freed after week in captivity

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Outspoken Iraqi journalist, Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi (seen here wearing a blue scarf), who was kidnapped by gunmen on Dec 26, has been freed, security officials and her sister Nibras al-Qaisi tell CNN. "Thank God, my sister Afrah has been freed and now she is with us at home," sister Nibras al-Qaisi told CNN.

Outspoken Iraqi journalist Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi, who was kidnapped by gunmen about a week ago, has been freed, security officials and her sister told CNN on Tuesday.

“Thank God, my sister, Afrah, has been freed, and now she is with us at home,” Nibras al-Qaisi told CNN.

Circumstances of the freeing of the journalist were not immediately clear.

Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi is a freelance journalist whose articles have appeared on several widely read news websites, including the London-based Asharq al-Awsat pan-Arab news site.

She also worked as an employee in the country’s Ministry of Culture.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said he called her to make sure al-Qaisi, a critic of rampant corruption, is doing well.

On December 26, gunmen stormed her home in the capital of Baghdad.

The gunmen were dressed in civilian clothes and arrived in three pickups at the home about 10 p.m. local time on Monday night, officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

The attackers stole cash, gold, a car and other possessions before they took her to an unknown location.

Abadi ordered security agencies to open an investigation into the case, calling for the prosecution of those responsible for the “intimidation of journalists.”

The organization Reporters Without Borders says Iraq is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists.