BAGHDAD (AP) — A leading Iraqi human rights organizer who confronted the prime minister on national TV says he is trying to paint legitimate protesters as terrorists.
Hana Adwar’s comments were broadcast live Sunday during a human rights conference in Baghdad attended by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and U.N. officials.
Earlier, al-Maliki spoke to the conference and suggested that some human rights activists were actually terrorists, in an apparent attempt to delegitimize the country’s nascent activist movement.
Adwar later got up and yelled at the prime minister, demanding he apologize. Then the TV feed was cut.
Adwar told The Associated Press that she was angry with al-Maliki’s comments and felt she had to speak out
Maliki Has Grudge Against NGOs, Adwar
6/5/2011 6:01 PM
BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: A woman activist in human rights field charged premier Nouri Al-Maliki as “having grudge against NGOs, trying to accuse them with different accusations”.
“These accusations are not appropriate and acceptable”, Hana’ Adwar said.
Activist Adwar told Aswat al-Iraq that “there is a plan to strike against NGOs because the premier is trying to defame them”.
She added “it was supposed that the NGO speaker to come, but he did not show up, so I went to Premier Maliki and handed him the poster on the four activists detained last Friday, as well as a letter from Iraqi Human Rights Ministry expressing its concern for the disappearance of Iraqi citizens arrested by security force, though Iraq abided by international accords”.
Adwar pointed out, while talking to Premier Maliki, that “the four activists were prisoners of opinion, but other criminals are available within the ministers and MPs”.
“I asked Premier Maliki to formally apologize to NGOs, and left the session in protest”, she confirmed.
She disclosed that “the government is cheating the people, while it said that the four detainees will be released today, permission of their families to see them is set to 11 June, which means that their detention will continue to that date”.
An activist of “Iraqi Streets for Change” Group, who was present on Friday last, told Aswat al-Iraq that the four activists were among 250 protesters when they were arrested and put in an ambulance that led them away.
Premier Maliki had set on 28 February 2011 a 100-day time table for the government to evaluate the work of the ministries and the provinces, following massive demonstrations in Baghdad and a number of provinces, demanding eradication of corruption, improvement of services and living standards as well as putting an end to unemployment.