On June 23, 1947, Fahd, Zaki Basim and the Iraqi pharmacist at whose home they had been arrested, Ibrahim Naji Shmayyel, were found "guilty" and were sentenced to death. Thirteen other Communist Party of Iraq activists were sentenced to hard labor. The severity of the death sentences for Fahd, Basim and Shmayyel provoked world-wide protest. In response to this protest, Shmayyel and Basim's death sentences were reduced on July 13, 1947 to less than 15 years imprisonment; and Fahd's death sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life. On August 14, 1947, Fahd and Basim were then transferred to Kut prison.
Fahd's life imprisonment sentence, however, did not stop the anti-imperialist protests in Iraq from continuing. Under the feudal monarchy's 1930 treaty with the UK government, the British imperialists were allowed to occupy two air bases on Iraqi soil. After the Communist Party of Iraq's newspaper called for the overthrow of the monarchy's Salih Jabr regime, anti-imperialist Iraqi students demonstrated on January 4, 1948 to demand that no re-negotiated agreement to allow the UK government to retain its bases in Iraq be signed by the Iraqi monarchy. On January 16, 1948, the terms of the Iraqi puppet government's new Portsmouth treaty with UK imperialism were announced: the British military was still allowed to occupy two air bases in Iraq and only minor changes in the 1930 treaty were made.
To protest against this Portsmouth Agreement, the Iraqi college students immediately began a 3-day strike on January 16, 1948; and the Communist Party of Iraq activists who led the Student Cooperation Committee organized a mass protest march in Baghdad, which included Iraqi workers, on January 20, 1948. The Iraqi puppet government's police first beat and then shot at the march, killing two demonstrators and wounding seventeen when the protesters fought back.
The following day, on January 21, 1948, the puppet government disowned the Portsmouth Agreement. But the Communist Party of Iraq activists kept the demonstrations going. Enormous crowds were mobilized to pack the streets on January 23, 1948 and the next few days.
Near the Royal Hospital in Baghdad on January 27, 1948, however, Iraqi police again fired on a crowd of protesters and killed four more anti-imperialist demonstrators. The Iraqi monarchy's police then brought armored cars and machine guns to the scene and, when the protesting crowds began to regroup, the Iraqi police began to fire their machine guns at the unarmed people. According to the 1978 book The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq, "the total figure for dead and injured" on January 27, 1948, "is commonly set at between 300 and 400."
The Iraqi monarchy's premier, Salih Jabr, then fled to England during the night following the January 27, 1948 massacre and a new government was formed for the puppet monarchy by Muhammad as-Sadr. During as-Sadr's term as premier, protests against the puppet government continued. On March 18, April 14 and May 12 of 1948, Iraqi railway workers staged strikes. On April 4, April 6, May 2 and May 8 of 1948, Iraqi port workers staged strikes. And from April 23, 1948 to May 15, 1948, Iraqi oil workers went out on strike.
But in response to the May 15, 1948 establishment of the undemocratic state of Israel by the Zionist movement, the puppet Iraqi government declared martial law and set up military courts for Iraqi civilian dissidents; while non-communist Iraqi nationalists withdrew their support for the Communist Party of Iraq activist-led insurgency in Iraq. Prior to May 15, 1948, Communist Party of Iraq student activists were so popular on campus that they were running some Iraqi colleges. But after the Communist Party of Iraq's leadership--following the example of the Soviet Union--announced on July 6, 1948 that it was backing the UN's partition of Palestine plan, popular support for Communist Party of Iraq activists by the anti-Zionist Arab masses in Iraq decreased.
(End of Part 4)