THE BLOG

Mohammed al-Daini is Still Missing

It has been 19 days since I first reported the situation of Iraqi Member of Parliament, Mohammed al-Daini. His nephew and bodyguard had been picked up. Then using their confessions, the Iraq Government charged Mohammed with being responsible for the April 12, 2007 suicide bombing in the Parliament cafeteria. Mohammed was en route by plane to Amman when his plane was ordered to return. He was taken off the plane and then disappeared. Go to Robert Fisk's report, The Mysterious Case of Mohammed al-Daini, on March 14th for more details. An hour after my original posting on March 6th, Major General Qassem Atta, spokesman for Baghdad's military security command, announced on al-Iraqia TV that the Iraq government had Mohammed al-Daini in detention. Then an hour after that, Major General Atta re-appeared on TV to announce he had been mistaken, the government did not have Mohammed and he is still a wanted man. Could you imagine if a member of the U.S. Congress were accused of crimes, disappeared, and 19 days later was still missing?

Contacts I had made within the staff of the Coalition Forces on my trip into the Green Zone in June of 2007 reported to me that the Coalition Forces are not holding Mohammed and have no idea of his whereabouts. As all people who have had contact with Mohammed al-Daini feel, Congressman Jim McDermott has concerns that al-Daini be treated with all respect and due process under Iraqi law. He requested that the Iraq desk at the State Department send a cable over to Baghdad noting his concerns. The response he received was that the U.S. wasn't holding him and they have no information on where he is, only that there is an Iraqi warrant out for his arrest.

Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S., Samir Sumadi, suggested to me that an official of the U.S. government ask him to find out the status of Mohammed and his case. So on March 18, Congressman McDermott sent Ambassador Sumadi a request for information. As of today, March 24, there is no news from the Ambassador.

As was noted by Robert Fisk and evidenced by the work I did with Mohammed al-Daini, his mission in life was to expose human rights abuses in Iraqi prisons. About two months ago, he sent me a video in which he interviews several torture victims. He aired this video in Geneva. I've posted the video on YouTube; go to these links for Part one and Part two.

About a week ago, the Press Office of Mohammed al-Daini sent me this message: "The new information we received from reliable sources, that the Iranian authorities asked the Iraqi Security consultant, Mowafaq Alrubai`y, during his visit to Tehran, to put in force their decision taken in the end of January 2009, to arrest Aldayni (Mohammed), and send him alive to Iran, as Aldayni became dangerous for their policy in Iraq, specially, when he disclosed four Iranian military camps in Iraq, used to kill the Iraqis, with the assistant of the Iraqi Government." Could this be possible?

Francis Brooke, an associate of Ahmed Chalabi, told me the chances of Mohammed being in Iran are close to zero percent. I have to agree with Francis; it is highly unlikely that Iran would hold or allow any Iranians to hold a member of the Iraq Parliament in Iran. Yet when I spoke with Paul Bremer the other night about the situation, he thought it was possible Mohammed was in Iran. He suggested I go to Baghdad myself if I want direct answers.

The last thing I want to do right now is fly over to Iraq. But as an American who cares about human rights, who has worked to end the violence in Iraq, and who feels that we should leave Iraq but not abandon the Iraqi people and certainly not a friend, I don't think I have a choice.