Iraq: Iraq: Three journalists fired from their positions with State-owned newspaper Al-Sabah
Beirut, 16 January, 2012 -- On 2 January 2012, Al-Sabah, a State-owned daily newspaper based in Baghdad announced that it had dismissed the head of the cultural section, Ahmed Abdulhossain and journalist Ahmed Hossain, who also writes for the cultural section from their employment. Their dismissal comes less than a month after the Editor-in –Chief Abdulsatar Al-Baithany was fired from his position with Al-Sabah.
The dismissals of the three journalists took place without any prior warning to them and no procedure of investigation was followed
The three journalists were dismissed under a direct order of Mohammed Al-Shaboud, director of the Iraqi Information Network supported by Ali Salamn, head of the trustee council for the Iraqi Information Network.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) considers this order to fire the three journalists from their employment as illegal and improper. It further considers it to be a denial of the rights of the journalists which should be immediately revoked.
GCHR believes that the three journalists Ahmed Abdulhossain, Ahmed Hossain, and Abdulsatr Al-Baithany have been targeted because of their writings in the Al-Sabah newspaper and as a result of the legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of expression. GCHR also believes that the dismissal from their positions is directly linked to such writings and considers the dismissal as a shameful effort by the Iraqi government to curb the rights to freedom expression and the freedom of the press. GCHR calls on the Iraqi government to meet its human rights obligations and stop targeting journalists in Iraq and should ensure that the right to freedom of expression is respected.
The GCHR calls on the authorities in Iraq to:
-Immediately and unconditionally revoke the order by Iraqi authorities to dismiss the three journalists Ahmed Abdulhossain, Ahmed Hossain, and Abdulsatr Al-Baithany from their employment with Al-Sabah newspaper;
- Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the dismissal of Journalists Ahmed Abdulhossain, Ahmed Hossain, and Abdulsatr Al-Baithany with a view to publishing the results and to act in the future in accordance with international standards;
- Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders and journalists in Iraq are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights calls your attention to the rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed in 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” in particular to Article 6 (b) and (c) which state that: “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms; (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters” and 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”.
Please write immediately in English or in Arabic to:
• Urge the Iraqi authorities to immediately and unconditionally revoke the order to dismiss the three journalists from their employment with Al-Sabah newspaper and compensate them for all the damages they have suffered;
• • Urge the Iraqi authorities to protect journalists and to end the routine harassment against them;
• • • Call on the Iraqi government to respect and protect freedom of expression and the right to information;
Please Send Appeals now to:
His Excellency Jalal Talabani
Office of the President
His Excellency Nuri Kamil al-Maliki
The Green Zone
Minister of Human Rights
His Excellency Mohammad Shayaa al-Sudani
The Green Zone
For more information, please contact:
Bahrain: Nabeel Rajab (Arabic and English) +973-396-333-99
Lebanon: Khalid Ibrahim (Arabic and English) +961-701-595-52
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights is an independent centre and has been registered in Ireland. The Centre works to strengthen support for human rights defenders and independent journalists in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.