Today marks the 12th anniversary of the unlawful detention of Walid Yunis Ahmad in the Kurdish Region of Iraq.
You may recognize his name. Perhaps the longest serving detainee in Iraq, Walid was featured in our report, “New Order, Same Abuses: Unlawful Detention and Torture in Iraq” and has been the subject of several Amnesty International actions.
Walid Yunis Ahmad is a Turkomen and father of three who worked for a local radio and TV station. He was arrested on February 6, 2000.
He was “disappeared” for three years, tortured, and detained without charge or trial for ten years.
In 2010, he finally was charged with directing terrorist activity from prison in 2009. His 2000 detention remains unexplained. At his one-day trial in 2011, his lawyer was not allowed to question “secret informants” whose testimony was accepted as the basis of the apparently fabricated charges against him.
He was sentenced to five years in prison, dating from the time he was charged in 2010. In yet another bizarre perversion of justice, the court determined that, because the first decade of his detention was unlawful, it did not count. Now, Walid Yunis Ahmad is to be held until 2015.
Walid should not be forced to pay for being unlawfully detained. There are no signs that those responsible will be held to account.
We need your help TODAY to urge the Kurdish Regional authorities to order Walid Yunis Ahmad’s immediate release, drop all charges against him, and compensate him and his family for his years of torture and unlawful detention.
Here is what you can do:
Tweet the accounts of the Kurdish Prime Ministers (current and incoming), Barhim Salih at @barhamsalih and Nechirvan Barzani at @NBarzani, the KRG government at @Kurdistanregion, and the Kurdistan Regional Government Representative in the US, Qubad Talabani, at @qubadjt.
Include this information in your tweets:
- @BarhamSalih @NBarzani @Kurdistanregion @qubadjt so that the incoming and outgoing Prime Ministers, Kurdish government and the KRG representative in the US all receive them
- The tags #KRG and #Kurdistan so that we can track all messages sent
Key messages and example of tweets:
@BarhamSalih @NBarzani @Kurdistanregion Today is 12th anniv of Walid Yunis arrest. Detained in #KRG & sentenced in an unfair trial. Why?
Walid Yunis Ahmad spent 12 yrs in #KRG prison & was sentenced on fabricated charges @BarhamSalih @NBarzani @Kurdistanregion Release him now!
@BarhamSalih @NBarzani @Kurdistanregion @qubadjt We urge you to immediately release Walid Yunis Ahmad in #Kurdistan http://owl.li/8TFkH
@BarhamSalih @NBarzani @Kurdistanregion @qubadjt We won’t forget Walid Yunis Ahmad, sentenced in an unfair trial in #KRG last yr http://owl.li/8TFkH
2 yrs in prison in #KRG & no evidence of crime. Release Walid Yunis Ahmad now! @BarhamSalih @NBarzani @Kurdistanregion @qubadjt http://owl.li/8TFkH
You can also send emails and letters to the Kurdish Regional authorities.
Beth Ann Toupin contributed to this post.