An Iraqi political activist, ‘Ala Nabil, was detained after a protest in Baghdad on 8 April. His whereabouts are unknown and Amnesty International fears that he and other detained activists are at high risk of torture. Other protestors are known to have recently been tortured in detention.
‘Ala Nabil, a political activist in his late twenties, was one of at least five young men reported to have been detained by plain clothes security forces at about 1pm on 8 April, near Tahrir Square in Baghdad. They had just left a demonstration in Tahrir Square held to protest against unemployment, official corruption and poor social services.
At least two of the five detainees were released about two hours after their arrest. However, in addition to ‘Ala Nabil, two other protesters, whose names are not known to Amnesty International, may also still be held in detention. One of the two who were released told Amnesty International that he witnessed the arrest of ‘Ala Nabil shortly before he was arrested himself. He was subsequently blindfolded and taken to an unknown location, where he says he was beaten, kicked and given electric shocks with an electric prod. He does not know what happened to ‘Ala Nabil.
Friends of ‘Ala Nabil have not been able to contact him via his mobile phone since his detention and his whereabouts remain unknown. Amnesty International fears that ‘Ala Nabil is at high risk of torture. ‘Ala Nabil was previously detained by Iraqi armed forces in connection with a demonstration in Baghdad on 21 March. He was held for several hours and reportedly tortured in detention, including by being beaten with a cable.
Other protesters who were detained in recent weeks say they were severely tortured. For example, Abdel-Jabbar Shaloub Hammadi told Amnesty International that he was detained for 12 days after being arrested on 24 February, beaten and tortured, including by being tied up and suspended from the ceiling. Icy cold water was also thrown over him. Another protester, journalist and writer Hadi al-Mehdi, is reported to have been beaten, tortured with electric shocks to his feet and threatened with rape during the hours he was in detention from 25 to 26 February.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English or Arabic:
- Calling on the authorities to reveal the whereabouts of ‘Ala Nabil and any other protesters detained with him;
- Calling for the immediate release of ‘Ala Nabil and other protesters, unless they are to be promptly charged with a recognizable criminal offence and brought to trial in full conformity with international fair trial standards;
- Calling on the government to respect the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression in Iraq;
- Urging the government to order an independent investigation into these and other allegations of torture and other ill-treatment of detained protesters, make the results public, prosecute those found responsible for torture and other abuses, and ensure that victims of torture and other abuses receive full reparation.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 20 APRIL 2011 TO the Iraqi Embassy in your country and addressed to:
Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Defence and Interior
His Excellency Nuri Kamil al-Maliki Prime Minister
Convention Centre (Qasr al-Ma’aridh)
Salutation: His Excellency
And copies to:
Minister of Justice
His Excellency, Hassan al-Shemri
Minister of Human Rights
His Excellency, Mohammad Shayaa al-Sudan