Alkarama and Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly wrote to the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances to ask for the immediate release of Abbas Fadhil Abboud Kadhim Al Batawi, disappeared since his arrest by a pro-government militia almost eight years ago. Although the 20-year old Iraqi student was seen on a video footage in 2007, the authorities continue to deny his detention.
On 16 September 2006, as Al Batawi was on his way to his father's shop located in Al Alowa near Al Mada'in's city centre, he was approached by a patrol of the Al Salam (Peace) Brigades wearing civilian clothes, who checked his identity before putting him into a military vehicle that left for an unknown location. Worried about his fate, and convinced that he was being held incommunicado by the authorities, his family and closed ones undertook several steps to find details on his whereabouts, including the visit of many detention centres and the filing of a complaint with the Prisoners' rights department of the Ministry of Human Rights. But if the authorities seemed collaborative at first, admitting his detention and promising his release shortly, they soon started to deny his detention.
This case bears strong resemblance with that of a 24-year old Iraqi student, Mustapha al Rubaie, arrested on 26 June 2006 and seen in a video footage of Tasferat prison on the occasion of a visit by Iraq's former Vice-President, Tariq Al Hashimi in 2011. In fact, Al Batawi's secret detention was also confirmed by a video footage taken on the occasion of another broadcasted visit of Al Hashimi to the Ministry of Interior's prison in 2007. Many cases of enforced disappearances have been documented in Iraq, a country that has now to deal again with the atrocities of a violent internal conflict and a helpless government.
To shed light on this issue, Alkarama and Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly sent a communication to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to ask the Iraqi authorities to release Al Batawi immediately or at the very least to put him under the protection of the law. As a party to the Convention on Enforced Disappearance, Iraq should open thorough and impartial investigations in all cases of enforced disappearances and bring their perpetrators to justice.