Iraq: UN Human Rights Committee Adopts List of 26 Issues in View of the Country's Review in October 2015
During its 113th session held in March 2015, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) – a body of 18 independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by its State parties – adopted a List of 26 Issues to be discussed during Iraq's fifth review in October-November 2015. In particular, the HRCtte asked Iraq to answer questions related to the State's counter-terrorism measures, use of the death penalty, practice of torture and incommunicado detention, and fair trial procedures. The State party is due to provide its answers in writing before then.
On 29 April 2015, Alkarama sent a communication to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) regarding the case of four men arrested by Syrian armed forces in the Hama Governorate between March and October 2012, who remain disappeared since.
Egypt: 9 Journalists Sentenced to Death or to Life in Prison for "Implying Security Forces Violated Human Rights"
On 19 May 2015, Alkarama sent a communication to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) regarding the detentions and sentences pronounced against nine journalists on 11 April 2015 by the Cairo Criminal Court in the "Rabaa Operations Room" case. Unlawfully detained for nearly two years in Egyptian prisons, Abdullah Ahmed Mohammed Ismail Alfakharany, aged 24; Samhy Mostafa Ahmed Abdulalim, aged 27; Mohamed Mohamed Aladili, aged 30; Ahmed Sabii, aged 40; Youssouf Talat Mahmoud Mahmoud Abdulkarim, aged 31; Hani Salheddin, aged 47; Mosaad Albarbary, aged 41; and Abdo Dasouki, aged 38 were given life in prison while Waleed Abdulraoof Shalaby, aged 51, was sentenced to death. Alkarama called upon the WGAD to recognise the arbitrary character of their detentions and to subsequently ask the Egyptian authorities to release them immediately.
On 19 March 2015, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted during its 28th session the outcome of Iraq's Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a process aimed at assessing the human rights record of each UN Member State every four years. During the actual review that took place on 3 November 2014 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Abdulah Al Janabi, Head of the Human Rights Department of Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs had regretted that Iraq was only able to accept 175 of the 229 recommendations made, using the pretext of the challenging security situation and the engagement of the State in combating the Islamic State (IS). In particular, the Iraqi authorities refused all the recommendations related to the establishment of a moratorium for the death penalty or to commit to safeguard other essential human rights such as the rights to freedom of expression, to a fair trial, and not to be subjected to torture.
On 17 May 2015, the Egyptian authorities announced having carried out the death penalty against Mohamed Ali Afifi Badawi, Mohammad Bakri Mohammad Harun, Hani Mustafa Amine Amer, Abdul-Rahman Sayed Rizq, Khaled Farag Mohammed Mohammed Ali and Islam Sayed Ahmed Ibrahim aged between 19 and 33 years of age. These six men had been unlawfully sentenced to death by a military court on 21 October 2014 for crimes they could not have committed, since they were secretly detained at the time when these acts occurred. In order to remedy to their situation, Alkarama had sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary executions (SR SUMX) on 8 April 2015 calling upon him to ask the Egyptian authorities to halt the six executions and to grant the victims a new, fair, impartial and civilian trial.
On 14 May 2015, Alkarama has provided the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon with a report on the state of reprisals in the Arab world and in particular on individuals who have suffered from harassment and intimidation for their cooperation with the UN, especially in Oman, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Despite repeated calls to end reprisals, Arab States continue to relentlessly attack all Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) cooperating with the UN and systematically seek to undermine the work of UN experts and Special Rapporteurs, leaving a shrinking civil society space behind them.