Iraqi Four Youth activists released: Describe Maltreatment During Detention

The Iraqi authorities released yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 7th May 2011) the four young activists who had been arrested in Baghdad on 27th May 2011 while on their way to participate in a demonstration in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad. But their release was made on a “bail guarantee”.

In an interview with the daily newspaper “Tareeq Al-Shaab” (8 June 2011), the four youths stressed that the charge against them (forging identification papers) was “fabricated.”

They said that they were arrested for participating in the peaceful demonstrations calling for political reform, combating corruption and the provision of services to the people.

Ali al-Jaf, one of the released youths, said that the morale of his colleagues has been high because of the big local and international solidarity which their cause received, noting that the solidarity campaign helped to stop the maltreatment to which they were subjected.

He described the treatment they received during their detention in the Intelligence headquarters of Karkh district as being “like the treatment of terrorists.”  He confirmed that they were beaten and insulted, and subjected to blackmail and intimidation by security men.

Al-Jaf, who is a university student, said that the process of their release took two days, and that the “fabricated” charge against them has not been dropped.

His colleague Jihad Jalil said that they were “not satisfied” with their release on bail, “because we are innocent of this charge which was fabricated against us.” Jihad demanded an apology from the government “for the physical and psychological harm that was inflicted on us, as well as defaming our reputation.”

He explained that “it was not an arrest, but an act of kidnapping. Plain-clothed security agents arrested us and hit us, in full view of security forces present near Tahrir Square, and they shoved us into ambulances.”

Jalil, a worker, described how they were treated during their detention. He said that in “the first day of our detention, we spent nearly ten hours in the prison yard, under the scorching sun, while being handcuffed and with our heads covered in black bags. This continued for three days.”

Iraqi youth activists released from detention

BAGHDAD – Iraqi authorities yesterday released four young activists who had been arrested on May 27 while on their way to participate in a demonstration in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad. But their release was made on a “bail guarantee.”

In an interview with the daily newspaper Tareeq Al-Shaab today, the four youths stressed that the charge against them (forging identification papers) was “fabricated.”

They said that they had been arrested for participating in demonstrations calling for political reform, ending corruption and providing services to the people.  for more information on the story of their release please click here:

Iraq: Protest Organizers Beaten, Detained

Security Forces Should Stop Targeting Activists

June 2, 2011

Iraqi security forces guard the Jimhouriya bridge in Baghdad during the February 25 “Day of Anger” protests in the capital. On that day, Iraqi security forces killed at least 12 protesters across the country and injured more than 100. For more information please click here to read the full report:

Authorities in Baghdad and in Iraqi-Kurdistan are keeping their citizens from demonstrating peacefully. Iraq needs to make sure that security forces and pro-government gangs stop targeting protest organizers, activists, and journalists.
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch

(Tunis) – Iraqi authorities have detained, interrogated, and beaten several protest organizers in Baghdad in recent days, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi authorities should stop the attacks and charge or release those being held, Human Rights Watch said.

In Iraqi Kurdistan, a protest organizer, Isma’il Abdullah, was abducted, stabbed, and beaten on May 27, 2011. The Kurdistan government should make sure its promised investigation of the episode is thorough, fair, and transparent, and leads to the prosecution of those responsible, Human Rights Watch said.




TUC: Iraq unions crisis campaign update

Events in Iraq are still moving quickly, since the Labour Ministry issued a decree in April, derecognising the country’s independent trade unions (the General Federation of Iraqi Workers), and seizing control of their assets and upcoming union elections. for more information please click here:

Repression Continues on Iraqi Trade Unions

The already-limited freedoms of association in Iraq are under further attack. Last month, the Cabinet arbitrarily dismissed the executive board of the country’s largest trade union organisation, the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW), and established a new committee to take over all union structures and assets, oversee and control upcoming union elections.  For more information please click here:

Stop Attacks Against Iraqi Unions

Few days ago, Labourstart launched a global campaign, please sign the appeal here:  in defense of trade unions rights in Iraq. The message was simple:  stop attacking Iraqi independent and democratic unions, allow them to organize freely and independently.

The campaign has generated more than 3000 signatures from trade unionists and peace activists’ from across the globe, including many Iraqi trade unionists and politicians – I learned of this news from Iraqi colleagues inside Iraq see here:

Activists from around the globe signed to campaign with single aim:  to stop the threat of liquidating the GFIW and create instead a puppet union movement dominated by Islamist hard liners within the so called unity coalition government of Iraq. Islamists hardliners want to eliminate the GFIW one of many trade union centers in Iraq using manipulated democratic tools available to them since April 2003. They dismissed the whole GFIW structures and tried to impose unelected official national committee composed mainly of islaimsit hardliners to create new trade unions structures through manipulated and controlled workers elections.

The global trade union movement has joined the protests against this  action. See for example the TUC statement and protest letter

In addition to the TUC, labourstart campaign and that of the ITUC, progressive elements within the Iraqi government have protested moderately in opposition to this undemocratic official aggression. The Minister for Civil Society, for example, has issued an official order see GFIW website here: halting workers elections and calling for full national scrutiny. Iraqi women MP Alia Ensif has written yesterday 11 May 2011 saying that key dominant political parties must stop their interferences in the internal affairs in the Iraqi unions and thus adhere to Article 22 of the Constitution of Iraq—see the MP comments here:

But what is remarkable here is that it is for the first time that Iraqi trade union activists who usually protest trade union injustice through traditional method such as street demonstrations are now, in addition to the former are engaging the net, in this case labourstart to protest at the Iraqi Government outrages trade union violations.  A new mode of struggle has now begun inside Iraq. This is progress despite the adversity.

Abdullah Muhsin

Help overturn Iraq’s free trade union ban

    Defend Iraqi Unions (photo ITUC)

The situation is moving quickly in Iraq, where a political storm is brewing over the future of the country’s unions.

Union offices across the country have been seized by officials backed by troops and police, following a Ministry of Labour (a position won by Islamist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sadrist party in the coalition carve up of government jobs) decree effectively banning free trades unions, and allocating control over their resources and elections to a political committee largely comprised of Sadrist appointees. For more information please click here: