In February the Council of Ministers Secretariat filed a criminal defamation complaint and opened an investigation against Ali Akram al-Bayati, a former member of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR). The suit stemmed from comments Bayati made during his tenure as a commissioner, discussing accusations of torture committed by the Anti-Corruption Committee (or Committee 29, see section 1.c.) and the IHCHR’s lack of access to those detained by the committee, during a 2020 television interview. On February 6, Bayati appeared in court in response to a summons where he was arrested and informed he was under investigation. Despite having legal immunity as an IHCHR commissioner, Bayati was detained in custody and interrogated for several hours before being released on bail the following day. The legal case against Bayati, who told a media outlet in June he decided to leave the country, remains open.
One of Iraq’s leading human rights officials, Ali al-Bayati, raised the abuse allegations on an Iraqi television show in 2020. A year later, he was sued for defamation by Iraq’s Council of Ministers Secretariat, which is under the authority of the prime minister, forcing him later to leave the country to avoid legal retribution. In written communications to Western missions in Baghdad, reviewed by The Post, Bayati appealed for help with his case.
Some promised to privately intervene, he said, but shared little in the way of follow-up. Only United Nations special rapporteurs publicly criticized his treatment. Read the details in Washington post
- Forign policy: Mustafa al-Kadhimi promised reform and freedom of expression. Now he’s using archaic laws to stifle free speech.
- Special rapporteur on HRDs’ statement
- MENA Rights Group sends a communication to the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders
- Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, sent a letter to Human Rights Council.
- Mr Clement Voule UN special Rapporteur on freedom of Association quoted on the case.
- Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) and the Asia Pacific Forum (APF) of National Human Rights Institutions condemns the “case of intimidation and reprisal” against Al Bayati
- HRW| Iraq| Drop Complaint Against Iraq Human Rights Commission Member, Dr. Ali al-Bayati Targeted for Raising Issues of Torture.
- FIDH| Urgent Appeal| Iraq: Judicial harassment of Dr Ali Akram al-Bayati