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Irish anti-corruption advocate detained in Iraq

Yasser Eljuboori, an Irish anti-corruption advocate born in Iraq, has been denied permission to leave Iraq and return to his family in Ireland, his wife has said.

In a statement, Laura Wickham said that her husband was detained over 36 hours ago in Baghdad, with no initial reason given for his detention.

On Monday, it emerged that Mr Eljuboori had been detained while attempting to return to Ireland. Though the Department of Foreign Affairs does not comment on the details of individual cases, it confirmed that it was aware of the case and providing consular assistance.

At a court hearing today, his family in Iraq were informed that he was being held due to “defamation” against political leaders, Ms Wickham said. They were later told that, by raising corruption concerns on social media, he defamed the prime minister of Iraq.

Mr Eljuboori, who regularly highlights corruption issues in Iraq on his X account, where he has more than 75,000 followers, was remanded in custody for a further two days, according to the statement.

The statement, released through London-based firm Doughty Street Chambers, said that Mr Eljuboori was informed that his case is a civil, rather than a criminal matter.

It said that no specific information has been provided with respect to what, if any, criminal charges he faces, or the basis for his continued imprisonment.

“Yasser is the life and soul of our household: a much loved husband and dad to our three children. Our children are young and they miss their dad,” Ms Wickham said.

“He is in prison thousands of miles away for no good reason, simply because of his important anti-corruption work.”

Ms Wickham called on the Iraqi authorities to release her husband immediately and asked the Irish Government to do everything in their power to ensure he comes home to Ireland as soon as possible.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC, a London-based Irish barrister who has taken on Mr Eljuboori’s case, said he was a “well-known and internationally respected anti-corruption activist, who has a proud history of holding Iraq’s leaders to account and raising corruption and human rights concerns”.

“It is very troubling that he is now imprisoned, with no clear information about the legal basis for his detention,” she said.

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