The ambassador for “Orphans Culture” in Iraq, Mr. Rashid was arrested and threatened. Defend International denounces his arrest and expresses concern for his safety, especially after being subjected to death threats.
On 4th of September 2007, Mr. Mohammed Rashid asked the judicial authority in Misan governorate to drop full custody from a divorced mother because of abusing her own children and violating their rights according to the reports.
The abused children had presented a complain to Mr. Rashid asking him to protect them and to carry out the legal procedures. Reports underlined that the children have been attacked by the mother with knives and scissors and have been bitten and insulted for silly reasons, such as breaking a glass.
Because of the power and influence of the mother, the judicial authorities neglected the case despite having documentation and medical reports.
The ambassador of “orphans culture” appealed the directorate of education in Misan to resign this teacher because of her use of violence. He also called via the media to rescue her children and put pressure on the juridical authorities to bring the mother to justice.
Immediately after this activity the ambassador was arrested and then released on one million Dinars bail. Moreover Al-Hakeem police office issued an order, No. 4938, on the 8th of September to take his finger prints.
DI View and DI Demands:
Defend International denounces the arrest of Mr. Rashid and expresses concern for his safety, especially after being subjected to death threats. DI also expresses deep concern over the harassment, intimidation and persecution of intellectuals in many countries, on the basis of their work, preventing healthy changes in stagnant societies.
Any psychological abuse, verbal or non-verbal, that lessens one’s sense of dignity and self-worth, is a clear violation of international treaties and represents an affront to civilized dialogue, the value and dignity of humanity, of each human person and the values of all civilized humanity.
The arrest and illegal detention of intellectuals, journalists and authors in societies supposed to be democratic should be considered as an affront to democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of media, and an obstacle to progress, mainly of civil societies.
What Mr. Rashid have experienced lately is a serious indication of the failure of the judicial bodies to put an end to illegal practices against citizens; and the strength and boldness of certain organs working to penetrate the rule of law and the constitution without paying any attention to the judicial authorities.
Defend international calls on the Iraqi government to put a stop to the erroneous practices against intellectuals in particular and to ensure respect for freedom of thoughts and the right to freedom of expression enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Iraq in the 19th of February 1971 and entered into force on March 23, 1976.
Defend International urges the Iraqi authorities to:
- Ensure the safety of Mr. Rashid and ensure that he will not be subjected to torture or violence, threats or any kinds of ill-treatment; Thus
- Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Rashid;
- Give him the opportunity to exercise his role as an ambassador for children and orphans;
- Ensure that Mr. Rashid obtain redress and is awarded fair and adequate compensation;
- Do not compel citizens to leave their homeland and provide them with protection within their own country since there are millions of desperate Iraqi refugees and all measures should be taken to avoid increasing their number;
- Ensure the protection of children by preventing harms and domestic violence and highlighting the responsibilities and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 5); and
- Deal with intellectuals in a mature and civilized manner reflecting the general principles of ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia.