05 October 2016

Iraq: A Man Sentenced to Death While Disappeared on the Basis of Confessions Under Torture

Iraq Special Operations Forces, http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/news/iraqis-vote-in-delayed-provincial-polls_15922 Iraq Special Operations Forces, http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/news/iraqis-vote-in-delayed-provincial-polls_15922

On 21 September 2016, the mother of Mohamad Al Jabouri, a 36-year-old construction worker, was able to visit him in Tasferat prison, Baghdad; after more than one year of his disappearance. He told her that during his secret detention, he was heavily tortured by Iraqi security officers and forced to sign a "confession" he was not allowed to read beforehand. This document was the sole source of evidence in his trial before the Central Criminal Court that sentenced him to death on 17 March for alleged "terrorist crimes". Concerned over his fate, Alkarama and Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly sent his case to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture (SRT), Juan Méndez, asking him to call upon the Iraqi authorities to annul his sentence.

On 14 July 2015, about 15 members of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF), under the control of the Ministry of Defence, broke into Al Jabouri's house in Al Karkh and violently arrested him. He was then handcuffed and blindfolded, before being dragged out of the house and forced into a Silverado pickup truck that took him to an unknown location. When Al Jabouri's mother asked why he was being arrested, the military officers said it was because "his ID was forged."

Despite filing several complaints with the authorities, Al Jabouri's family obtained no information and, left with no other recourse, Alkarama and Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly sent his case to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance (CED) hoping the UN experts' intervention will help shed light on his fate and whereabouts.

Despite the CED's intervention, the Iraqi authorities never informed Al Jabouri's family of his place of detention, until his mother went to the premises of the Tasferat prison in Baghdad on 21 September 2016, as a former detainee informed her that her son was detained there.

Al Jabouri explained that during the first weeks of his disappearance, he was held in secret detention centre situated in the International Airport of Baghdad where he was severely beat up and electrocuted to extract a "confession"; as a result, he was forced to sign a document he was not allowed to read beforehand. Al Jabouri's mother reports that he survived a heart attack and is currently unable to walk as a result of the acts of torture he suffered.

In its responses to the CED, in fact, the Iraqi government implicitly acknowledged his detention by affirming that on 17 March 2016, Al Jabouri was sentenced to death by the Central Criminal Court for allegedly "belonging to an armed terrorist group" and "preparing a booby-trapped car to explode in Rusafa, Baghdad", crimes according to Iraqi Antiterrorism Law, relying solely on his confessions extracted under torture. He is currently still detained, waiting for his appeal.

"Al Jabouri's sentence to death based solely on confessions extracted under torture while he was disappeared is not an isolated case," comments Inès Osman, Legal Coordinator at Alkarama. "Iraq should stop issuing and implementing death penalties as they systematically result from heavily flawed trials during which confessions extracted under torture are admitted as the sole source of evidence. The fight against terrorism should not be used a pretext to violate the citizens' fundamental rights."

For more information or an interview, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Dir: +41 22 734 1008).

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