Statement from Protect Iraqi HRDs NOW! Campaign, Demanding the Immediate Release of Expert Jassim Al-Asadi
Iraq | Baghdad
5th February, 2023
Four days ago, our colleague and fellow environmentalist, Jassim Fadel Duweij Al-Asadi, was kidnapped by an armed group, according to the information we received from his relatives.
Jassim Al-Asadi is an expert in environmental issues, water, and the protection of the marshes. He is a consulting engineer known for his dedication to environmental work and, in particular, the protection of the marshes in southern Iraq. He was kidnapped just south of Baghdad at noon on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, on his way to the capital.
Jassim Al-Asadi is one of those who dreams of a complete change in the environmental and water situation in Iraq. For that, he has worked for years as an activist, researcher, and environmental expert, defending Iraqi rivers and marshes and Iraqis’ right to water.
We are concerned about the fate of our colleague, and we call on the Iraqi government and all security agencies to carefully examine this case and to quickly secure his release. At this time, we are extra concerned because of the context in which Jassim was kidnapped. In recent years, kidnappings and intimidation of activists have intensified. Environmentalists have experienced threats and intimidation from armed groups for some time, especially those who work on the role of militias in environmental abuses and the oil sector.
We understand that negotiations are in progress to secure our colleague’s release, and we hope they will rapidly succeed. We call on human rights organizations and local and international human rights defenders to show solidarity and help speed this process.