Iraq: Efane AL ABBASSI, victim of enforced disappearance, located in Baghdad women's prison


An Iraqi citizen who disappeared following her abduction on 24 September 2019, Efane Hatem Dahham AL ABBASSI was finally located in Baghdad's women's prison. 

Victim of enforced disappearance since her abduction, the Iraqi authorities finally acknowledged Efane's detention and announced that she was sentenced to 15 years of prison for terrorism allegations. 

The enforced disappearance of the victim was submitted by Alkarama and Ikram Center for Human Rights to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances in an urgent appeal sent on 19 November 2019. 

The UN Committee, responsible for monitoring the implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, ratified by Iraq on 23 November 2010, regularly calls on the State party to cooperate effectively within the framework of the established procedure. 

Disappearance following her abduction 

Efane Hatem Dahham AL ABBASSI was abducted on 24 September 2019 from her parents' home in the city of Samarra (northern Baghdad). 

On the same night, about twenty people were abducted from the village in similar circumstances, including five members of her family. That evening, five Toyota pickup trucks burst into the village and men wearing military uniforms and belonging to the intelligence services raided the house and took the victim away. The men were under the command of Ahmed Al Zirjawi, an intelligence officer in Tikrit (northwestern Baghdad). 

The day after her arrest, her relatives went to various military camps in the Tikrit region where they thought she might be detained with the other arrestees. However, on each attempt, the military threatened them and ordered them to leave, claiming that she was not detained. Her relatives also addressed the local court, police stations and intelligence headquarters in Tikrit, to no avail. 

Faced with the authorities' denial, the victim's family mandated Alkarama and the Ikram Center for Human Rights, who urgently submitted her case to the Committee on Enforced Disappearances to locate her. 

The Committee notes several violations of rights 

As part of the proceedings, Alkarama had asked the Committee to urge Iraq to locate the victim who was still a minor at the time of his disappearance. Alkarama had also expressed its concerns about the State party's unwillingness to cooperate within the procedure. 

Indeed, the Iraqi state deliberately refrained from disclosing information about Efane for more than three years before finally acknowledging her detention. 

The Committee, which also expressed concerns that the State party had not provided any information until a conviction had been handed down against the victim, reminded the State party "of its obligation to conduct an immediate investigation into the enforced disappearance (...) from the moment she was detained on 24 September 2019 until her family was informed." 

The independent experts also recalled the prohibition of incommunicado detention and Iraq's obligation to guarantee "that any person deprived of liberty is detained only in officially recognized and monitored places of deprivation of liberty" and the right of all detained persons to communicate with their relatives and any counsel of their choice.