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The Iraqi authorities released yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 7th May 2011) the four young activists who had been arrested in Baghdad on 27th May 2011 while on their way to participate in a demonstration in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad. But their release was made on a “bail guarantee”.

In an interview with the daily newspaper “Tareeq Al-Shaab” (8 June 2011), the four youths stressed that the charge against them (forging identification papers) was “fabricated.”

They said that they were arrested for participating in the peaceful demonstrations calling for political reform, combating corruption and the provision of services to the people.

Ali al-Jaf, one of the released youths, said that the morale of his colleagues has been high because of the big local and international solidarity which their cause received, noting that the solidarity campaign helped to stop the maltreatment to which they were subjected.

He described the treatment they received during their detention in the Intelligence headquarters of Karkh district as being “like the treatment of terrorists.”  He confirmed that they were beaten and insulted, and subjected to blackmail and intimidation by security men.

Al-Jaf, who is a university student, said that the process of their release took two days, and that the “fabricated” charge against them has not been dropped.

His colleague Jihad Jalil said that they were “not satisfied” with their release on bail, “because we are innocent of this charge which was fabricated against us.” Jihad demanded an apology from the government “for the physical and psychological harm that was inflicted on us, as well as defaming our reputation.”

He explained that “it was not an arrest, but an act of kidnapping. Plain-clothed security agents arrested us and hit us, in full view of security forces present near Tahrir Square, and they shoved us into ambulances.”

Jalil, a worker, described how they were treated during their detention. He said that in “the first day of our detention, we spent nearly ten hours in the prison yard, under the scorching sun, while being handcuffed and with our heads covered in black bags. This continued for three days.”