Declan Butler, reporter This is the personal blog of Declan Butler, a senior reporter at Nature. All views expressed here are mine, and not those of Nature. Contact me at

November 14, 2006

As many as 150 kidnapped at science ministry in Baghdad

Filed under: Justice — admin @ 5:48 pm

I’ve written here before about the assassination of Iraq scientists. Today as Nature went to press as many as 150 were kidnapped at the science/education ministry. We have published a short article online — “Gunmen seize academics at Baghdad ministry.”


If the details are confirmed, the abduction will be the biggest single event in a steady campaign of attacks and assassinations against Iraqi academics during the bloody aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s fall. More than 200 are thought to have been killed, and hundreds more have fled the country.

Scientific and human-rights organizations, including Scholars at Risk, the International Council for Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, have called for assassinations and attacks to be better investigated, for security to be boosted at universities, and for those most at risk to be given asylum at universities abroad.

But the killings continue. Among the most recent murders was that of Essam al-Rawi, a geologist and president of the University Professors’ Union, who was shot dead on 30 October. A few days later, gunmen killed Jassim al-Asadi, a dean of the University of Baghdad, along with his wife and son. 

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