Internet Surveillance & Arrest in Iraq



I just read Khalid Jarrar’s post about his arrest in Iraq. Not only is it a sobering reminder of the reality of the situation in Iraq it also illustrates the surveillance the population is under and the disdain for freedoms of all sorts by the authorities there. Khalid was arrested for reading the comments section of his brother’s blog:

Then finally I understood why I was there, after few hours. Security guards at the university had printed out all the websites I was reading while I was online there. They were accusing me of “reading terrorism sites” and “having communications with foreign terrorists”.
“Do you know what these pages are?”
I looked at them and figured out they were the comment section of Raed in the Middle!!
I opened the comments section while browsing in the university, read some comments, and didn’t even post anything. But these people don’t seem to know what the internet is, and they don’t speak English, so I was a major suspect of being an assistant of al Zarqawi maybe! Or that I have a terrorist group of my own, with foreign connections!

Khalid goes on to describe his experience and those with whom he was imprisoned.He also described how at the time of his release he was made to sign a document stating he would nto discuss his experiences.

On Thursday, the judge decided that I was innocent. He figured out that the papers were from a public forum, and he didn’t find any comments posted by me.
I wasn’t released till Saturday morning, after I was forced to sign a paper committing that I wouldn’t tell the families of the arrested people that they are arrested, and that I wouldn’t tell anyone about anything that happened while I was arrested or tell them what I saw inside the jail, and that I would report any case of breaking the law that I know about to the authorities (at this point I laughed and asked: even if someone drove his car through a red traffic light?), and that I wouldn’t visit terrorism websites.

I, of course, told all the families I could that their sons are arrested in the seventh floor of the ministry of interior in the hands of the Mukhabarat, and here I am telling you everything that happened with me, and I am planning to visit all kind of websites as much as I like as long as I want.

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