Urgent Action: Police Arrests Teacher and Protest Organizer (Iraq: UA 89.20)

On 16 May 2020, armed members of the Asayish and local police entered the home of teacher and activist Badal Abdulbaqi Aba Bakr in Duhok, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and arrested him without a warrant. He is being charged with “the misuse of electronic devices” for his role in organizing peaceful protests through social media platforms and remains detained. His family are unable to visit him due to COVID-19 measures and they have not been able to contact him directly. Badal has only seen his lawyer.



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Dr. Dindar Zebari
Head of the Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Fareed Yasseen
Embassy of the Republic of Iraq
3421 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 742 1600 I Fax: 202 333 1129
Contact Form: https://bit.ly/2FGGCEU
Twitter: @IraqiEmbassyUSA
Facebook: @IraqiEmbassyUSA
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Dr. Zebari,

On May 16 2020, at approximately 1:15am, armed members of the local police in Duhok as well as Asayish officers took 55-year-old teacher Badal Abdulbaqi Aba Bakr Barwari from his home in Duhok, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) without presenting an arrest warrant, informing him of the reason for his arrest or where he was being taken to. His family had witnessed his arrest from his home and said that “countless” armed security officers had arrived in two vehicles – one belonging to the local police and the other, a civilian four-wheel-drive.

On 18 May 2020, Badal’s family attempted to visit him in the Zirka detention facility, in Duhok, but were turned away due to measures put in place to counter the spread of COVID-19. They had not seen or heard from him since he was taken from his home.

On 18 May 2020, a court in Duhok ordered his release on bail pending a court hearing being set after being formally charged with protesting without permission under the KRI Protest Law No. 17 of 2010. However, Badal was not released and according to his lawyer and family, he was subsequently charged in a new case with inciting a riot under Article 2 of KR-I Law No. 6 of 2008 for the “the misuse of electronic devices” and he was kept in detention. In fact, Badal had only called for a peaceful gathering by teachers to call for their wages being paid on time, according to a video seen by Amnesty International.

I urge you to secure the immediate and unconditional release of Badal Abdulbaqi Aba Bakr Barwari and drop all charges related to the exercise of this rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.

Yours sincerely,