Thursday, 9 June 2011


Amnesty International


A group of pro-reform activists have been allowed no contact with the outside world since they were detained on 27 and 28 May in Baghdad. They are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
Ahmed Alaa al Baghdadi, Jihad Jalil Ibrahim, Muayyad Faisal al-Tayeb and Ali Abdul Khaliq al Jaf were taken from Tahrir Square in central Baghdad at 9.30am on 27 May, just before a planned demonstration started. They were apparently driven away in an ambulance by men in plain clothes, believed to be security officials. The four activists had previously called for and participated in peaceful demonstrations in protest against deteriorating economic and other living conditions in Iraq. 

The four men, aged between 19 and 29, are being held in the al-Muthanna airbase prison in Baghdad. They are said to be facing possible trial on 5 June accused of possessing false ID cards. However, Amnesty International is concerned that their arrests and detention may be directly linked to their involvement in peaceful protests involving the legitimate exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. The authorities have refused requests by their families and lawyers to be allowed to visit them, heightening concern that they could be subject to torture or other ill-treatment. 

On 28 May, Iraqi security forces detained at least 11 other activists while they were meeting in Baghdad at the headquarters of Ayna Haqqi (Where is my right), a local NGO. Those detained include the NGO’s secretary general, Ahmed Mohammad Ahmed; four of those arrested were later released but he and others continued to be detained and have also been denied access to their families and lawyers. They too are believed to be held at al-Muthanna airbase prison in Baghdad and to have been detained on account of their involvement in organizing peaceful  demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square.

Amnesty International has recently documented cases of other protesters who were tortured or otherwise ill-treated shortly after their arrest and while they were detained incommunicado by Iraq security forces.

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