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Iraq: Parliament threatens head of Iraqi Journalists' Rights Defense Association Ibrahim Al-Saragey

2016-07-29

Journalist and head of the Iraqi Journalists' Rights' Defense Association (IJRDA) Ibrahim Al-Saragey was threatened after he described in a press statement, on 25 July 2016, the Iraqi Parliament as a profitable instead of a legislative body because a proposed internal law of the Parliament includes many privileges for MPs.

On 26 July 2016, the Iraqi Parliament issued a statement threatening to resort to the judiciary if Al-Saragey did not make a formal apology to the Iraqi Parliament for his statements.

Al-Saragey is a journalist and well-known defender for the rights of journalists.  IJRDA, which he heads, is an independent NGO established in 2004 to defend press freedom and provide legal support for at-risk journalists and writers in Iraq.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) declares its solidarity with Al-Saragey, and calls on the Iraqi Parliament to refrain from targeting Al-Saragey and other journalists, contrary to the Iraqi constitution which guarantees freedom of expression. His statement forms a part of his work as a journalist, written only after he investigated the matter in search of the truth, and GCHR believes it shows his interest in the fight against corruption.

GCHR urges the Iraqi Parliament to:

 1. Refrain from targeting human rights defender and journalist Ibrahim Al-Saragey immediately and without any conditions; and

2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders and journalists in Iraq are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free from all restrictions including judicial harassment.

The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”