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December 21, 2011

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Statement about Said Akram situation in Prison

On December 19, 2011, our Federation and two members from CPT visited Said Akram in the Zakho prison and we think it is important to publish this statement about his case. 

For more information about his case please see our previous  statement

Akram insists that the main reason for his arrest is his interview with the NRT channel about the corruption happening at the Ibrahim Khalel customs office.  He is proud to be in prison for this case and wishes for a real investigation into this, as he is certain that 75% of the customs income is going to corruption.  The need for an investigation has also been raised by 50 parliamentarians who have signed a petition demanding this “ here you find a link with the  signature of 50 parliament members  “ 

Akram described the circumstances of his arrest by security as uncivilized and resulting in psychological shock for him and his family.  Security personnel did not consider the humanitarian side of their behaviours when they took his property, as well as the camera, mobile and computer of his children. 

According to international standards, as well as Iraqi constitution and law, an accused person is innocent until proven guilty.  This is not what we found at the Zakho prison and in the case of Saed Akram who has requested and been denied bail three times.  Some of our other findings were as follows: 

  • Akram reported that his living conditions do not follow human rights standards. He is in a room with 45 other prisoners and has 1.5 metres for his own space. 
  • Prisoners are not allowed physical contact with their family members.  In the last two months in prison, Akram has not been able to hug any of his five children, of which the youngest one is only two years old. 
  • Akram reports that special police/ security forces are brought in to torture prisoners. Akram himself has not suffered torture, but the stories of other prisoners are written on the walls of the prison.  These include the sexual abuse of family members and threats to prisoners that they will have to watch while their family members are stripped. 
  • Communication with the outside world is not allowed.  Akram is not able to have books, pens, paper or newspapers.  Watching TV is limited to what the guards want to watch.

On behalf of the Federation and CPT, we urgently ask for a fair trial and judgment by independent court for the case of Saed Akram.  We urge the court to consider the humanitarian side of the case, to consider the condition of his family, his studies nad his job, and to release Saed Akram until the date of his trial. 

We appeal to the human rights committee of the KRG parliament to visit and investigate conditions at the Zakho prison.  We urge the committee to encourage and implement the human treatment of all prisoners. 

FCSO, Fidiration of civil society NGO  CPT, Christian peace team  20 December2011  Iraqi Kurdistan –Sulaimanyah city 

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