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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 194th session
(Geneva, 20 March 2014)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Having before it the case of Mr. Ahmed Jamil Salman Al-Alwani, a member of the Council of Representatives of Iraq, which has been examined by the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians since its 144th session (January 2014), pursuant to the Procedure for the treatment by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of communications concerning violations of the human rights of members of parliament,

Taking into account the letter from the Speaker of the Council of Representatives dated 31 December 2013, the information provided by a member of the delegation of Iraq who appeared before the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians during the 130th IPU Assembly (Geneva, March 2014), and the information transmitted by the sources,

Considering the following information provided by the sources:

  • Mr. Al-Alwani was arrested on 28 December 2013 in Ramadi, in Anbar province, during a raid on his home carried out by Iraqi forces in the middle of the night; his brother and five of his security guards were reportedly killed during the attack and another 18 people injured;

  • Neither his family members, nor his lawyers know where he is being detained; they fear that he has been taken to a secret detention centre and tortured; they have received anonymous telephone calls threatening that Mr. Al-Alwani would be executed;
    -         The media reported that Mr. Al-Alwani was charged with terrorism during an initial hearing held before the Central Criminal Court of Baghdad on 27 January 2014 and that the trial had been deferred to 9 March 2014;

  • The sources fear that Mr. Al-Alwani was arrested in retaliation for his outspoken support for the grievances of the Sunni population; according to the source, Mr. Al-Alwani is a member of the Al-Iraqiya political block who was serving his second parliamentary mandate; he is known to be a prominent critic of Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki and a supporter of the demonstrations that started in Ramadi in December 2013 in protest against the perceived marginalization and persecution of Iraqi Sunnis by the central Government; the Prime Minister is said to have publicly announced on 22 December 2013 that these protests had become a “headquarters for the leadership of Al-Qaida” and to have warned that the security forces would intervene; according to the source, Mr. Al-Alwani had held meetings with the provincial authorities on 27 December 2013, the day before his arrest, in an effort to defuse the tension between the governorate and the central Government,
Considering that, according to the Speakerof the Council of Representatives: (i) the Council of Representatives and its parliamentary investigative committee have been unable to visit him in detention or obtain any information on his place or conditions of detention, or even on his health; (ii) it has not been apprised of the progress made in the investigation; (iii) Mr. Al-Alwani’s parliamentary immunity has been violated and there are concerns with regard to respect for constitutional and legal safeguards; and (iv) Mr. Al-Alwani has parliamentary immunity and should therefore be released,

Considering that the member of the delegation of Iraq who appeared before the Committee at the 130th Assembly provided the following information:

  • The Council of Representatives has not received any information on the exact circumstances of, and grounds for, the arrest of Mr. Al-Alwani, which are the subject of much speculation; there are, however, two opposing points of view in that respect within parliament: (i) one is that he was a terrorist and was caught in flagrante delicto by the Iraqi forces; and (ii) the other one is that he was attacked by the Iraqi forces because he had supported the demonstrations and was accused of terrorism because he and his bodyguards opened fire to defend themselves when the house was broken into by armed forces in the middle of the night as they had no way of knowing that they were dealing with the Iraqi forces and not Al-Qaeda or an armed militia, considering the volatile security situation at that time;

  • The Council of Representatives has not been able to obtain any information on the charges and proceedings against Mr. Al-Alwani to date, or on his conditions of detention or his health, and does not know whether he has been subjected to torture; however, torture in detention is a long-standing problem in Iraq, which has been documented, including in reports of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee;

  • There are special procedures to respect under the Constitution and the laws of Iraq to arrest and prosecute members of parliament and that, regardless of the circumstances and grounds for his arrest, he was entitled to protection from torture and to a fair trial; Mr. Al-Alwani is currently detained in Baghdad and is not allowed to receive visits from family members, lawyers or anyone else pursuant to the terrorism law; a hearing recently took place in the main courtroom of Baghdad; the trial was suspended after Mr. Al-Alwani requested the transfer of his trial to Al-Anbar province according to the normal criminal procedure that provides him with the right to be tried in his province of origin; however, this does not usually apply in terrorism cases and the current instability in Al-Anbar does not presently allow for such a transfer,
Bearing in mind that the 2005 Constitution guarantees the right to life, security and liberty (Article 15), provides that homes may not be entered, searched or put in danger except by a judicial decision and in accordance with the law (Article 17.2), and prohibits unlawful detention and detention in places not designed for that purpose (Article 19.12); Article 60 of the Constitution guarantees parliamentary immunity and prohibits the arrest of a member during the legislative term of the Council of Representatives, unless the member is accused of a felony and the Council decides by an absolute majority to lift the immunity, or if caught in flagrante delicto committing a felony,

Considering that Iraq is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

  1. Sincerely thanks the Speaker of the Council of Representatives and the member of the Iraqi delegation for the information provided;

  2. Is extremely concerned about Mr. Al-Alwani’s health and physical integrity, given that he may have been exposed to torture and that no one is able to visit him in detention and is alarmed that the arrest and detention procedure may have violated constitutional and other legal safeguards, including Mr. Al-Alwani’s parliamentary immunity;

  3. Urges the Iraqi authorities to ensure that Mr. Al-Alwani’s fundamental rights to protection from torture and mistreatment in detention and to a fair trial are fully respected in compliance with Iraqi law and with international human rights conventions to which Iraq is a party;

  4. Is shocked that the Council of Representatives has not been provided with any information to date about the fate of its member and has not been authorized to visit him and calls upon the competent Iraqi authorities to provide, as a matter of urgency, official information on Mr. Al‑Alwani’s place and conditions of detention, on his current state of health, on the grounds and factual basis for his arrest and on the procedure followed, as well as to allow the parliamentary investigative committee to visit him in detention; wishes to be kept informed of any new developments;

  5. Notes with satisfaction that the Council of Representatives has undertaken action to ensure respect for Mr. Al-Alwani’s fundamental rights and to monitor his situation; recalls that the protection of the rights of parliamentarians is the necessary prerequisite to enable them to protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in their respective countries and that the representational nature of a parliament closely depends on the respect of the rights of the members of that parliament; trusts the Council of Representatives will continue exercising its oversight function effectively and to fulfil its duty and vested interest to ensure the protection of its members so that they may carry out their mandate without hindrance;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to inform the Speaker of the Council of Representatives accordingly and to convey this resolution to the parliamentary authorities, the Prime Minister, the High Judicial Council, the sources and any third party likely to be in a position to supply relevant information;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and to report back to it in due course.

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