Iraq: Soldier missing since 2014 abduction in Iraq, where practice of enforced disappearance is systematic and widespread
On October 23, 2017, Alkarama and Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly requested the urgent intervention of the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) in the case of an Iraqi soldier who disappeared following his 2014 arrest, and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown to date.
Safaa Al Jabouri, a 42-year-old Iraqi soldier, was hosting his wife’s brothers, Hussein and Mekdad Al Dulaimi, at his house in the village of Ja'ara, about 40km southwest of Baghdad on July 20, 2014 when a group of armed men stormed his home.
The group of ten men from the military intelligence were dressed in civilian clothes when they entered the house, threatening the family and holding them at gunpoint. Al Jabouri and his brothers in law were arrested and dragged into one of the unit’s vehicles before being taken to an unknown location.
Following the disappearances of the three men, their relatives enquired about their whereabouts in several detention centres and police stations. They also enquired with governmental bodies including the Ministry of Human Rights, the forensic medicine department of the Health Ministry, the Al Karkh section of the Central Criminal Court, and the Fifth Division of the Intelligence Services. However, none of these authorities were able to provide the family with information on the fate and whereabouts of Safaa Al Jabouri and his brothers in law.
Alkarama and Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly requested that the CED urge the Iraqi authorities to release Safaa Al Jabouri, or at the very least, put him under the protection of the law by disclosing his whereabouts and allowing his family to visit him without restriction.
As for the Al Dulaimi brothers, the two NGOs had previously informed the CED of their disappearances but their cases remain pending to date since their fate and whereabouts are yet to be clarified by the Iraqi authorities.
The case of Safaa Al Jabouri is part of a wider pattern of systematic enforced disappearances that prevails in Iraq, a country where the rate of missing people remains one of the highest worldwide.
Cases tend to follow a similar pattern: victims are arrested by the security forces during house raids, held in secret places of detention, and denied access to the outside world while their relatives are left without any information as to their fate and whereabouts. It should be noted that such a practice constitutes in itself a form of torture not only for the disappeared person but also for his or her family.
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