Last week Alkarama submitted urgent appeals to the Special Rapporteur on Torture, the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders and the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances on 26 February 2009. Yesterday, on 4 March 2009 Alkarama submitted two further urgent appeals to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and to the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions.
Alkarama has been making enquiries with Mr Al-Dainy's family and eye-witnesses to ascertain the sequence of events and the current situation.
This is a relatively unique case as last week a flight Mr Al-Dainy was on from Baghdad to Jordan was turned around mid-flight upon instructions from Iraqi Prime Minister, Mr Maliki. Shortly after his initial arrest, Mr Al-Dainy disappeared.
Current situation - subject of Urgent Appeal
Mr Al-Dainy was arrested by Iraqi security forces on Wednesday 25 February 2009, while onboard a plane which was returned mid-flight en-route to Jordan. Present at this time were four other Iraqi Members of Parliament, Maysoon Al Damlouji, Ahmed Radi, Ali Al Sajri, and Assaad Al Issaoui. Alkarama has spoken at length with Mr Al Sajri about the sequence of events.
The plane on which Mr Al-Dainy was flying to Amman, Jordan was turned back, mid-flight, 30 minutes after take-off. A plain clothed security officer entered the plane and there were armed officers at the door of the plane. Mr Al-Dainy was told he must disembark. This occurred in the presence of other passengers and the following four Iraqi Members of Parliament - Maysoon Al Damlouji, Ahmed Radi, Ali Al Sajri, Assaad Al Issaoui. Mr Al-Dainy then left the plane with two of the Members of Parliament, including Mr Al Sajri.
Mr Al-Dainy and his colleagues asked to see the security officer's warrant and he angrily responded that he was acting under orders from the Prime Minister Maliki which were given to the Federal Prosecutor. These orders were that Mr Al-Dainy was to be banned from travelling and there was to be an order for his arrest. Mr Al-Dainy and the other MPs asked for documentation of the orders. They did not receive such documentation and after some time, they were handed back their passports and they left the airport.
Mr Al-Dainy left the airport with Mr Al Sajri, also a Member of the Iraqi Parliament. However, approximately 5km into the journey, just before approaching a government checkpoint, fearing for his life Mr Al-Dainy exited the car on the highway. Mr Al-Dainy was afraid for his imminent safety and told Mr Al Sajir, ‘if they take me, they will kill me'. This area is under tight control by the Iraqi government (officially being handed over to the Iraqi National Police on 24 January 2009. Given the context and circumstances, Mr Al Sajrii believes that Mr Al-Dainy must have been apprehended by government security forces, and estimates the chances of Mr Al-Dainy being at liberty as almost nil.
Mr Al-Dainy has not been seen since this time. His family have had no contact with him. Media reports cite government sources stating that Mr Al-Dainy was released or he ‘slipped out' of the airport and he is now a fugitive. Mr Al-Dainy's immunity was lifted by the parliament during an emergency session on Wednesday 25 February 2009.
Mr Al-Dainy's family is also being victimized and they are in a state of total fear. Many members have been arrested from their homes, their homes have been ransacked and their cars have been set on fire.
Mr Al-Dainy is being accused by the Iraqi authorities of masterminding a suicide bombing of the Iraqi Parliament on 12 April 2007 which killed eight people, including a colleague from his own political party, Mr Mohammad Awad. Mr Al-Dainy has publicly refuted all of these allegations saying that it is clear they are politically motivated and in retribution for his work in the defence of human rights in Iraq, and in particular of the exposure of ‘secret' and illegal prisons in Iraq.
The (false) allegations are being based on "confessions" made by a nephew of Mr Al-Dainy's, and his head of security after they were arrested. Before his arrest and disappearance, Mr Al-Dainy informed Alkarama and a press conference that it is clear these "confessions" were obtained as a result of torture - he stated "these [accusations] are fabrications...It was clear they (his bodyguards) were tortured when they were shown on television". (see for example, The Daily Star, 26 February 2009).
We are of the opinion that it is very clear that his work denouncing human rights violations in Iraq, including his recent visit to Geneva as a human rights defender are the reason for the authorities' actions against Mr Al-Dainy and his family. We fear for his safety, as the authorities deny that they are holding him. We also advise that Mr Al-Dainy has already been the target of several assassination attempts, the authors of which have never been identified, but Mr Al-Dainy was sure they were attempts by the Iraqi government in order to discontinue his work.
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