The United Nations has demanded the immediate release and right to compensation of a US citizen who has been arbitrarily detained in Iraq for a decade.

The UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called the detention of Shawki Omar ‘arbitrary’ and said that his case revealed ‘serious procedural violations.’

Shawki Omar was held without charge by the Americans in a number of prisons, including the notorious Abu Ghraib prison from 2004 until 2010 when he was handed over to Iraqi custody where he remains.
He had initially been abducted along with his wife and subjected to several forms of torture including electric-shock and drowning simulations very similar to waterboarding.

The wife of Shawki Omar, said: “While we welcome the opinion of the UNWGAD, we are very concerned by the apparent unwillingness of the Iraqi government to implement it. My husband has been held for ten years now. Those are ten years that have been taken away from him and his family, and we will never get them back, and now what little communication we had with him has even been cut off. He hasn’t been allowed to call us for more than a year.”

Amandla Thomas-Johnson of CAGE, said: “We welcome the United Nations’ decision to release and compensate Shawki, but when will the Iraqi and American perpetrators of such abuse ever be held to account?”
“This is yet another harrowing story of torture in a month when the Americans have already confessed to systematic torture and abuse on a grand-scale. As with the torturers who took part in the CIA’s abuse programme, Shawki’s torturers must be swiftly brought to justice.”

Please sign and share this petition calling for Shawki’s release and assurance of his well being. For more information about Shawki’s case, see here.

Contact:            Mr Amandla Thomas-Johnson
Phone:              +(44) 207 377 6700
27 Old Gloucester Street

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)