Iraq: Risk of Death of Mr. Alweis Due to Lack of Medical Care

alwies On 5 March 2010, Alkarama submitted the case of Heikal Alweis (هيكل اللويس), also known as Mus'ab Alweis ((مصعب اللويس to the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

Mr Alweis was arrested by the Iraqi authorities on 2 December 2004 in the Mahmudiyah region of Iraq, without an arrest warrant. He was handed over to the Multi-National Forces and returned to the Iraqi authorities on 10 January 2007, according to the Iraqi authorities. Mr Alweis is currently detained in Sousse Federal Prison, in the Sulaymaniyah region, which is controlled by the Kurdish forces.

Mr Heikal Alweis, aged 29, is stateless and he is normally lives with his Lebanese parents, who obtained Lebanese nationality, in the Alzeimia District, Ta'nayel region, Bekaa, Eastern Lebanon and was working as a blacksmith.

On 5 November 2009, Mr Alweis' mother visited him from Lebanon after she was informed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) of his whereabouts. Mr Alweis gave his mother a letter explaining the torture and the lack of medical care. He also informed her that he had been charged, under Article 10 and 15 of the "Passport Act". These articles concern those who are unlawfully present on the Iraqi territory. According to sources from the region, these types of cases are usually sentenced to a maximum of three years imprisonment. However, Mr Alweis was sentenced a very severe punishment: 15 years imprisonment. The severity of this sentence has in all likelihood had a severe impact on his mental health.

Mr Alweis is suffering from dangerous complications; he suffered from an inflammation of the bladder because he had limited access to the toilet over a period of 8 months. This requires an urgent operation, however, the authorities have ignored his requests and he remains untreated to date, contrary to Iraq's international human rights obligations. Mr Alweis' health started to deteriorate in 2009. When his mother visited him in the prison he could not move his legs and walk and we fear that his life may be at risk and that he is greatly suffering both physically and morally due to his serious illness.

Furthermore, Mr Alweis has not received any other family visits, as it is difficult for his mother to visit him due to the distances involved and for financial reasons, which worsened after his father's death due to a stroke which happened when he was informed that his son was being detained and greatly suffering in Iraq.

We are concerned that Mr Alweis's medical condition is being severely aggravated by the inactions of Iraqi authorities currently detaining him. This is contrary to Iraq's obligations under article 12 of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognizes "the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health".

Alkarama remains deeply concerned by this case and will continue to follow Heikal Alweis case closely.

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