Human rights lawyer Ali Jasib Hattab Al Heliji disappeared since arrest in Amarah on October 8, 2019

Human rights lawyer Ali Jasib Hattab Al Heliji disappeared since arrest in Amarah on October 8, 2019

On October 8, 2019, human rights lawyer Ali Jasib Hattab Al Heliji went to the southern city of Amarah to meet one of his clients. However, shortly after arriving at the rendezvous point, he was arrested by members of the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU). As a lawyer, Al Heliji had represented several demonstrators arrested in connection with the anti-government October demonstrations.
Latest Updates
October 23, 2019: MENA Rights Group and Amnesty International request urgent intervention of UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances.
October 8, 2019: Abducted in Amarah by members of the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU).
October 6, 2019: Received threats from the PMU.
October 1, 2019: Beginning of anti-government protest in Baghdad.

Ali Jasib Hattab Al Heliji is a human rights lawyer representing demonstrators arrested in connection with the recent anti-government demonstrations. On October 1, 2019, protests started in Baghdad and southern cities calling for improved services and more action to curb corruption. The demonstrations were met by excessive and unnecessary lethal force by Iraqi security forces and have resulted in a hundred people killed and about 4000 injured.

On October 6, 2019, two armed men from the PMU came to Al Heliji’s home to warn him from speaking out on Facebook about the killing of protesters and to stop accusing certain factions of the PMU of being responsible for these killings. The armed men then threatened Al Heliji that they would kill him if he did not stop.

On October 8, 2019, Al Heliji received a call from one of his clients who wanted to meet. The two men were supposed to meet in the southern city of Amara in the Missan province. However, when Al Heliji arrived at the rendezvous point, armed men in two black pick-up trucks belonging to the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) dragged him away from his car, where he stood speaking to his client, and then drove him away in one of the trucks. When Al Heliji’s relatives reported his abduction, local security forces told them that they were not aware of his arrest. His fate and whereabouts remain unknown to date.