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Freedom of Expression
Home > Country focus > Iraq > Iraq- freedom of the press is in danger

Iraq- freedom of the press is in danger

Monday 28 October 2013, by The Gulf Center for Human Rights

Update: On 29 October 2013 the Publishing and Media Court, released journalist Zuhair Al-Al-Fatlawi for "the illegality of his detention and imprisonment."

On 27 October 2013, the judge at the Publishing and Media Court detained human rights defender and journalist, Zuhair Al-Fatlawi, for three days in custody due to an article he published recently.

Zuhair Al-Fatlawi is an independent journalist who has published, in a range of daily newspapers and websites, articles that focus on corruption in government.

On 27 July 2013, Zuhair Al-Fatlawi published an article about the State Housing Bank in Baghdad in which he criticized its working methods as well as the enormous difficulties faced by citizens in their daily contacts with this office and urged the concerned authorities to carry out the required reforms. The bank manager has filed a case against him at the Court of Publishing and Media where the competent judge, in a dangerous precedent, ordered the detention of journalist Zuhair Al-Fatlawi at Maysaloon police station in Baghdad for three days pending investigation.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) deplores the targeting of journalist Zuhair Al-Fatlawi as it is contrary to the Iraqi constitution which guarantees freedom of expression. The article which he has written forms a part of his work as a journalist. It was written only after he investigated the matter in search of the truth, and it shows his interest in the fight against corruption.

The GCHR urges authorities in Iraq to:

1. Release human rights defender and journalist Zuhair Al-Fatlawi immediately and without any conditions;

2. Ensure the physical and psychological integrity and security of Zuhair Al–Fatlawi;

3. 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.”

SOURCE: http://gc4hr.org/news/view/512

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