Wife urges release of detained husband


‘Release or charge him by Christmas’ plea

THE wife of a British man held without charge in Iraq for a year is calling on the UK government to step up its efforts to secure the release of her husband.

Ramze Shihab Ahmed, a 68-year-old dual Iraqi-UK national who has lived in the UK since 2002, was arrested by security officials in a relative’s house in the city of Mosul on 7 December 2009.

Mr Ahmed, who had travelled to Iraq to try to secure the release of his detained son ‘Omar, was first held in total secrecy for nearly four months before being able to phone his wife in London. He has told his wife of how he was tortured – including with electric shocks to his genitals and suffocation by plastic bags.

Amnesty International has launched a campaign calling for Mr Ahmed to be released unless he is charged with a recognisable criminal offence and fairly tried, as well as insisting that the alleged torture is fully investigated.

Amnesty supporters have sent some 6,000 messages to the Foreign Secretary William Hague asking him to put pressure on the Iraqi authorities to ensure that Mr Ahmed is treated in line with international human rights standards and the Iraqi constitution.

His wife, Rabiha al-Qassab, a 63-year-old former teaching assistant who lives in north-west London, said: “I can hardly believe that a whole year has gone by with my husband in jail like this. It’s disgraceful what they’re doing to him. He doesn’t even know what he’s accused of.

“An Iraqi judge recently visited my husband and assured him that the ‘confession’ that the interrogators tortured out of him will be disregarded and that they’ll re-investigate the case.

“This is better news but I want to see the Iraqis say either we’re charging him or – much more likely – we’re going to release him.

“The UK ought to be saying this as well. I appreciate the fact that William Hague has raised the case with the Iraqi authorities, but I’d really like to see more being done now that a year has passed.

“Why couldn’t Mr Hague insist that he must be either released or properly charged by Christmas?”

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said the case had “dragged on for far too long.”

“This shocking case has dragged on for far too long and we need to see the Iraqi authorities resolving it without further delay, she said.

“This man and his family have suffered enough. The torture allegations must be investigated and Ramze should be properly charged or released. The sooner, the better.”


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