Iraq: Journalist Haidar Al-Hamdani threatened at his home
On 06 June 2019, journalist Haidar Al-Hamdani published a video on his Facebook page in which he revealed alarming threats painted on the front door of the home he rented for his family in Al-Rumaitha, Iraq. The words "Wanted for Blood," a term often used to threaten people during disputes between Iraqi tribes, were painted in large red letters.
Al-Hamdani confirmed that he has no personal or tribal differences. He believes that influential authorities in the province are behind the threat, especially after his demand to provide public services to citizens and end corruption in the province. This is not the first threat, as two masked men asked about Al-Hamdani in the area a day earlier, and two people in a car chased him recently.
Al-Hamdani, 27 years, who lives in Al-Rumaitha district in Al-Muthanna Governorate, is a journalist who started his journalism career in 2010. He has worked as a correspondent for a number of television channels and won several awards, including the best story report in Iraq in 2017.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) condemns in the strongest terms the threats against Haidar Al-Hamdani and expresses deep concern about the situation of all human rights defenders in Iraq, including lawyers, journalists and bloggers who continue their work bravely in the face of grave danger.
GCHR calls on the authorities in Iraq to:
- Conduct a thorough investigation into the threats directed against journalist and human rights defender Haidar Al-Hamdani with a view to immediately bringing those responsible to justice;
- Put an immediate end to threats against journalists and bloggers including Haidar Al-Hamdani; and
- Ensure that all human rights defenders in Iraq are able to work without facing restrictions, threats and judicial harassment.
GCHR calls on the authorities in Iraq to fulfill their fundamental duty to protect the Iraqi constitution, which stipulates in Article 38 the protection of public freedoms, including freedom of expression and freedom of demonstration. GCHR also calls upon the authorities to maintain Iraq's international obligations as a signatory since 1971 to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which obliges the parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of expression and assembly, electoral rights and procedural rights to fair trial.