Samira Al-Nuaimi, a female human rights lawyer in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, has been executed by firing squad upon the orders of Islamic State extremists.
Known locally for her human rights and humanitarian work, Al-Nuaimi was executed last week, according to rights activists and residents.
The United Nations said that Al-Nuaimi was killed in a public square and that her body showed signs of torture when it was returned to her family.
Professional and educated women have been a particular target for extremists, rights groups say, with women who took part in parliamentary elections this year especially at risk.
“This horrifying public execution — of a courageous woman whose only weapons were the words she used in defence of the human rights of others — lays bare the bankrupt ideology of ISIL and its affiliates,” the UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Raad Al-Hussein said.
The Islamic State did not publicly acknowledge Al-Nuaimi’s killing but UN officials said a sharia court had sentenced her to death for apostasy, or abandoning the faith.
Al-Nuaimi had spoken out on her Facebook page against the militants’ destruction of historic sites, which they consider idolatrous or heretical under their extreme interpretation of Islam, describing the Islamic State militants as non-Islamic.
IS militants captured Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul in June during its rapid advance across the country’s north and west.
The extremists now rule a vast, self-declared caliphate containing the Syrian-Iraqi borders, in which they have imposed a harsh version of Islamic law and beheaded and massacred their opponents.