Urgent Appeal for Oussama Atar, Belgian detainee in Iraq
5 May 2010
FORWARDED ALERT: URGENT APPEAL – SOS – Save the life of Oussama Atar, Belgian detainee in Iraq
We demand that the Belgian government immediately intervenes with the Iraqi authorities to save the life of Oussama Atar, a young Belgian, aged 26, who has been detained in Iraq for six years.
In the messages that he has sent us during the last years, via the RedCross, my brother Oussama has never complained about his diabolicalconditions of detention. But, in the last few weeks, he started to send SOS messages that his healthis rapidly deteriorating: he loses blood and weight visibly.Me and my family are extremely worried about the situation. My brother is Belgian, he was born in Belgium, an honest citizen of good behaviour. He is today in a grave and critical state. He needs the urgent medical treatment that is being refused by the prison authorities.We ask that the Belgian authorities intervene as quickly as possible to ensure that Oussama receives immediate hospital treatment.We demand that the Belgium government goes through the diplomatic channels so that Oussama can receive medical treatment in Belgium and complete his sentence in Belgium.
Oussama was arrested in the village of Ramadi in Iraq for having illegallycrossed over the frontier from Syria into Iraq. This is the single act forwhich he has been reproached. Unjustly condemned for this by a tribunal to 25 years in prison, a sentence reduced on appeal to 10 years, he has been sent to several prisons, such as the horrible Abu Ghraib, where many scandals have been exposed, as well as Camp Bucca situated in the desert, then to the camp Cropper, and finally to the prison of Rusufa in Bagdad. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7748016.stm).
The Belgian government can no longer close their eyes to this case.
In his report of 11 March 2010, even the US Department of State, recognised that in 2009 at least “505 cases of torture have taken place in Iraqi prisons”. The Belgian government can no longer hide behind the fact that they have no extradition treaty with Iraq. If there is the political will to resolve the problem, a solution can be found : within the European Union (Belgium takes over the presidency on 1 July 2010), or through another country that could obtain his extradition.
The life of a young Belgian man is in grave danger, it is necessary to take action before it is too late.
I appeal to all persons, to each elected parliamentary representative, toall associations and organisations working who work for human rights in Belgium and in Europe, to support us in our attempts to use all channels available to us in order to save the life of my brother.
This appeal will be send to the Belgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and to the Belgian embassies in the different European countries.
You can support us by:
1. Becoming a member of the Facebook group: ‘Save the life of Oussama Atar’
2. Sending a card backing the appeal to the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the Belgian Ambassador in your country.
3. Signing this appeal as an elected representative, a responsible for an organization or a public personality (please send a mail with your name,position, organization and country to ‘Prison Monitor, Association of Families and Friends of Prisoners’email@example.com)
4. Take part in actions to obtain the transfer of Oussama Atar to Belgium.
Please distribute this appeal as widely as possible.