Protesters hold portraits of Iraqi journalist Afrah Shawqi during a demonstration calling for her release on December 30, 2016, in Baghdad. Image Credit: AFP

Baghdad: Iraqi journalist Afrah Shawqi was released Tuesday, a week after being abducted from her Baghdad home by gunmen, her sister and security officials said.

“It’s true,” her sister Nibras Shawqi told AFP in a text message when asked about reports of her sibling’s release.

Iraq’s Joint Operations Command in Baghdad also confirmed she was free.

Afrah Shawqi, 43, is employed by Asharq Al Awsat, a London-based pan-Arab newspaper, as well as a number of news websites including Aklaam.

Last week, she published a stinging article on the website in which she hit out at the armed groups which “act with impunity” in Iraq.

During a press conference before news of her release on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi had said that the motives of the kidnapping were both political and criminal.

Iraq is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, along with Syria, Afghanistan and Mexico.

Seven journalists were killed in the country in 2016, according to press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, whose 2016 World Press Freedom index ranks Iraq 158th out of 180 countries.