Three Iraqi women who face imminent execution: update

A short update on the status of Wassan Talib, Zainab Fadhil and Liqa Omar Muhammad, the three Iraqi women who face imminent execution: 

1. This week we received from Iraq an account of a prison visit to the three women one person was able to make. We believe there is credibility to this account. The account corroborates initial information that these women were subject to unfair trials. We are trying to get precise detail on their trials in order to formally petition the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has expressed willingness to take up the case, and indeed did some checking of its own. If we gain a more detailed account, we can push the Working Group to go further. An accomplished international human rights lawyer is willing to work with us on behalf of the three women. 

2. The account of the prison visit leads us to believe that the women are still alive. Another mail came to us from another source relaying that the executions have been postponed. However, we can not confirm either detail. Despite the immense response to our appeal, and all the letters and emails sent to the holding authorities, no official statement has reached us that addresses the case of these three women. We continue to seek further information. 

3. The trial of Wassan and Zeinab allegedly lasted 25 minutes with no evidence or witnesses presented. Wassan, Zeinab and Liqa deny the charges brought against them. 

4. The account of the prison visit confirms that the three women are held in an unsafe location, Al-Kadhimiya Prison.

5. The account of the prison visit also mentions that 16 children are in Al-Kadhimiya Prison, some of which are the children of Zainab and Liqa. 

6. We cannot yet confirm what exact article of the Iraqi Penal Code the three Iraqi women were convicted under. However, the fourth woman mentioned in Amnesty International’s appeal, allegedly convicted on criminal charges and facing imminent execution, is mentioned in the prison visit account as being in Al-Kadhimiya Prison and having also been subject to an unfair trial. 

We believe it very necessary for all to continue in their mobilization in solidarity with Iraqi women and the struggle of the Iraqi people for independence, freedom, justice and the right to life. 

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day — “Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls” — allows us to recall what is happening without censure every day in occupied Iraq: sexual abuse, humiliation, rape and torture, as well as murder. Our mobilization stands to expose the abyss between the occupation and its puppet government and the directive of the United Nations, which reads: “States have an obligation to protect women and girls from violence, to hold perpetrators accountable and to provide justice and remedies to victims. The failure to meet these obligations is unacceptable.”

There is no national jurisdiction under occupation. This puppet government is in no situation to pass sentences and is unwilling and incompetent to protect these women. We call for the end of this criminal occupation and the release of Wassan, Zeinab and Liqa along with all political prisoners held illegally.

We congratulate the protests and campaigns thus far initiated against these imminent executions. We salute our Moroccan sisters and activists who staged on 5 March a 24-hour hunger strike and a sit-in outside the UN office in Rabat. It is time for us all, in our actions, to push mandated authorities, including the UN, to end their hypocrisy and complicity in the horrendous crime that is the occupation of Iraq.  

We remind holding authorities that it is prohibited under international law to hold prisoners in an unsafe place, and that an international movement of solidarity is awaiting confirmation of the well being of Wassan Zeinab and Liqa. 

We will update all endorsers as and when we have additional significant information. The situation in Iraq is extremely volatile and we are conscious at all times of the security and safety of those on the ground in Iraq who are assisting in our efforts. 

Please keep us informed of all actions and progress you are making. 

Ian Douglas

Hana Al Bayaty

Abdul Ilah Albayaty

Dirk Adriaensens

Iman Saadoon

Ayse Berktay

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