Iraqi government detains and tortures peaceful demonstrators from Tahrir Square (Baghdad)

In today's [April 8] demonstration on Tahrir Square (Baghdad), the youth marched towards the bridge in order to cross to the Green Zone, and chanted the slogan of “Ousting the System”. The security forces – under the "General Commander of the Armed Forces" Mr. Nouri Al Miliki gave orders to detain and torture all the organizers of the demonstration. Division 11 of the Iraqi army (army intelligence) took pictures of all the demonstrators including the OWFI women. The same division used civilian cars to arrest tens of demonstrators into detainment.

Alaa Nabil, Ahmad Husein, and Ahmad Jassim from the Feruary 25 Group were detained in addition to fifteen others from the northeastern side of Tahrir Square. Both Ahmad Husein and Ahmad Jassim were released after one hour of severe beating and torture. Alaa Nabil is still detained, and is expected to be enduring heavy torture or may even be killed, as he was threatened to be killed by the same security forces on March 22nd and to dispose of his body where it cannot be found.

The Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq is a founding member of the February 25 Youth Group and cooperated with them to organize peacefully since February 25 and till this day of April 8.

The February 25 Group consists of freedom-loving youth of Iraq who rebel against the extreme corruption of Al Maliki's government and the joblessness which the majority of the youth experience. They demand provision of electricity and general freedoms as basic human rights which the government should provide. The main organizers of the group such as Alaa Nabil and Ali Salam have lost bodily parts under physical assaults of sectarian militia and US military forces, the spokesperson of the group Firas Ali says. He continues: "All that we are demanding is that the Green Zone monopolisers share some of the resources with the people, and also our freedom to organize peaceful demonstrations. At this point we worry about the safety of Alaa Nabil".

The Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq demands the immediate release of Alaa Nabil, and that the officers in charge of torturing the demonstrators be taken to court, and that the Iraqi security\military institutions respect the constitutional rights of the Iraqi people to demonstrate peacefully.

Once again, Iraq is being ruled by despots who have no regard for human lives or rights, and under the claims of an American-style democracy this time.

Yanar Mohammed

Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq

(Friday, April 08, 2011)