Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Iraq

Iraqi lawyers threatened, arrested for representing ISIS suspects: report

By Rudaw 13/9/2018
French woman Djamila Boutoutaou attends her trial in Baghdad in April. She was sentenced to life in jail for membership in ISIS. Photo: Ammar Karim/AFP
French woman Djamila Boutoutaou attends her trial in Baghdad in April. She was sentenced to life in jail for membership in ISIS. Photo: Ammar Karim/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Lawyers face the risk of threats or arrest by Iraqi security officers for providing legal representation to ISIS suspects and alleged families of militants, according to a report from Human Rights Watch (HRW).

"The Iraqi government is attacking lawyers for doing their job and is effectively preventing people who need legal services from getting them," said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at HRW, in a report released Wednesday.

Some lawyers providing legal services to ISIS suspects and families say they fear for their lives due to arrests and threats received by security forces.

"In addition to being illegal, these attacks have a corrosive effect on the rule of law by sending a message that only some Iraqis have the right to legal representation," said Fakih. 

HRW interviewed 17 lawyers living in and around Mosul in July and August of 2018. Every lawyer interviewed said they had experienced threats first hand and/or had witnessed abuses such as verbal harassment by the National Security Service or the Ministry of Interior Intelligence and Counter Terrorism officers.

One lawyer was detained for two hours by an Interior Ministry officer while two others were detained for two months before they were finally released, without charges.

The head of one organization which provides legal services to women and children held on terror charges said that three different lawyers quit their jobs, saying the work was too dangerous after receiving threats.

Lawyers in Mosul were advised by the deputy head of the National Security Service not to represent terror suspects. 

When one lawyer responded that some of them might be innocent, the deputy head replied, "It doesn't matter."

Some of the lawyers ignored the warnings and continued providing legal services, only to later be approached by court security officers asking if the lawyers were themselves "ISIS members."

Between July 2017 and August 2018, Iraqi authorities issued arrest warrants for 15 lawyers, all of whom were representing ISIS suspects, according to HRW. 

Five lawyers being held in Mosul are facing terror charges. 

The lawyers believe it was an act of intimidation.

One senior judge told HRW that after the arrest warrants were issued, lawyers began refraining from providing representation to ISIS suspects or families.

This leaves them at the mercy of state-appointed lawyers, who fail to provide adequate legal representation, according to the rights watchdog that witnessed state-appointed lawyers not speaking up for their clients during legal proceedings. 

"The authorities should immediately explain why they are detaining and charging these lawyers," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW. "They need to make it clear that Iraqi lawyers should not be afraid to defend ISIS suspects."

International law guarantees anyone accused of committing crimes to have access to legal representation of their choice.

"Now that Iraq says it has turned a corner, with an end to the war against ISIS, the authorities should make every effort to ensure that they respect and protect all its citizens' basic rights," deputy director of HRW, Fakih said. "The Iraqi government should not be carrying out collective punishment."

Comments

 
Azad | 14/9/2018
What a disgrace. Innocent women and children and even men suspected of crimes many of them didn't commit being denied representation in court by the same government that wants to appear fair and democratic to the outside world. Imagine having a "lawyer" who doesn't defend you in court while your life or your children's lives are at stake. Just more evil and deception from shias. Why are these people so evil?
Ali | 14/9/2018
Thats crime of a state
This message is for Azad for others to see. | 14/9/2018
1. Shia has nothing to do with this, don't bring things up to cause facade. 2. You were at the court? How do u know that this women is not ISIS herself, it's as if one article made u convinced she's innocents, and you know how rudaw works.
Post a New Comment
Comment as a guest or Login for more enhanced interactive experience

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Bijan | 9/22/2018 11:10:51 PM
Iran is a big country, its name (Iran/Iranshahr) and its existense as a nation state is 1800 years old. Jealous and savage forces like mongols and...
Guest | 9/23/2018 2:32:51 AM
Correction: This was an iranian gay parade.
Gunmen attack Iranian military parade, casualties reported
| yesterday at 09:19 | (21)
Dutchman | 9/22/2018 11:20:52 PM
Thank you France. The French contribution is important to protect the Kurds and orther peoples in Northern Syria. Rojava is the only part of Syria...
France: A central player in the fight against ISIS
| yesterday at 09:35 | (1)
Yassir Fekaiki
Yassir Fekaiki | 9/22/2018 9:29:53 PM
make a deal whilst you can? PUK is died with Mam Jalal, what remains is in loving memory of what could have been the KDP now has the chance to take...
Bishop | 9/22/2018 9:55:09 PM
Puk are bunch of cry babies like seriously what has taliban done or Masum done for the Kurds?! It’s time for a change puk canadiates have been weak...
KDP’s ‘unilateral’ Baghdad visit against spirit of Kurdish ‘unanimity’: PUK
| yesterday at 11:14 | (3)
Pie | 9/21/2018 8:06:35 PM
@Azad, you've got a good point there but what about your own government Turkey? they're no better than Iran or the West. Turkey attacked and occupied...
Tron | 9/22/2018 9:50:16 PM
In the last 70 years the us built up not only a huge debt but they have built up global warming built up Ozon hole and built up global terrorism...
US slams Iran for Koya attack and their proxies for interfering in Iraq
| 21/9/2018 | (5)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

ISIS media release video claiming to show Iran military parade attackers 3 hours ago |

ISIS media release video claiming to show Iran military parade attackers

The three men are dressed in IRGC uniforms more
Russia says ‘misled’ by Israel in plane downing over Syria 4 hours ago |

Russia says ‘misled’ by Israel in plane downing over Syria

A Syrian missile downed the Russian military more
A letter to Kurdistani patriots a year after the referendum 6 hours ago |

A letter to Kurdistani patriots a year after the referendum

Your friends rejoice that you've again endured more
0.172 seconds