During the summer of 2018 protests returned to Basra focused upon services like water and electricity, fighting corruption and better governance. They eventually turned into riots in Basra city that went after political parties, Hashd al-Shaabi groups, and the Iranian consulate. Several activists were arrested and killed in what organizers believed was retaliation by some of those same parties.
Anyone is seen as a potential IS collaborator or sympathizer. In February, Human Rights Watch accused authorities of torturing suspects to extract confessions of belonging to IS, an accusation the Interior Ministry has denied. Detainees are pushed by the thousands into what critics call sham trials, with swift verdicts — almost always guilty — based on almost no evidence beyond confessions or unaccountable informants ′ testimony. The legacy of guilt weighs heavily especially on women and children, who face crushing discrimination because of male relatives seen as supporting IS.