An Iraqi lawyer and activist has spoken of his detention on allegations of “insulting public authorities” after his release on Monday.
Ibrahim al-Sumaida’i was taken to an unknown location and placed in solitary confinement after a raid on his house in Baghdad on Friday, he said in a statement on Tuesday. His phone was searched and he was unable to leave the room to use the bathroom, he said.
Iraqi security forces arrested Sumaida’i late on Friday, acting on an arrest warrant on the charge of “publicly insulting public authorities” issued by the Al-Karkh Investigation Court in Baghdad, after a representative from the Supreme Judicial Council filed a lawsuit against him.
The warrant was issued following “his attack on official institutions, describing them with bad words that go beyond the limits of the freedom of expression,” according to a statement from the Supreme Judicial Council on Saturday, who said he had made “indecent comments” in a WhatsApp group chat with group MPs and journalists.
“The court asked me to apologize for what I said, and I repeat my apology in this statement,” said Sumaida’i, adding that he is “astonished” that authorities have lodged lawsuits against people “for having opinions.”
He was released on bail on Monday.
His arrest was criticized by the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, which expressed “grave concern” that the arrest warrant was issued without regard for humanitarian and legal legislation. It is a “flagrant violation of human rights,” the commission said on Saturday, calling for Sumaida’i’s immediate release.