Bahaa Abdul Hadi, a prominent Iraqi businessman and the manager of Smart Card Company Qi Card, was arrested on the orders of the infamous Committee 29. His unlawful arrest and torture have sparked further controversy regarding the conduct and gross human rights violations of the government’s so-called anti-corruption organizations.
Bahaa Abdul Hussein Abdul Hadi is a prominent figure in the Iraqi financial sector. A businessman and entrepreneur, He established Qi Card, the leading electronics payment solution in Iraq, and uncovered massive financial fraud. Bahaa ended up being arrested, tortured and convicted bribery simply because he was a whistleblower who would not bow down to corruption and remain silent, and because he was not affiliated with corrupted political parties that offer protection for Most of the Iraqi businessmen . Multiple concerns have been raised in Abdul Hadi’s case in light of what is turning out to be gross human rights violations, abuse of the legal system, and unlawful imprisonment.
Details of the Case
On September 17, 2020, Abdul Hadi was planning to travel abroad. He was arrested without an arrest warrant by members of Committee No. 29 at Baghdad International Airport.
After Abdul Hadi’s hisarrest, he was further denied due process. Among other things, he was not allowed to communicate with his family or a lawyer. The family and his lawyers were only able to see Abdul Hadi 40 days after arrest.
Physical & Psychological Torture
From September 2020 to January 2021, Abdul Hadi was subjected to various types of physical and psychological torture including beatings with sticks, waterboarding, suffocation with plastic bags, hanging by his legs and hands, electric shocks on his sensitive body parts, the use of the “falqa” method, deprivation of sleep and food, as well as threats of raping his family members, extortion and bargaining over the company.
From Whistleblower to Accused
Prior to his arrest, Bahaa Abdul Hadi uncovered massive corruption on a tremendous scale. The discovery was made possible following the introduction of Qi Card’s fingerprint technology. Through this, Abdul Hadi managed to uncover 330,000 fake individuals who were receiving illegal salaries and pensions from the state. These fake accounts, which cost the Iraqi government a staggering 100B Iraqi dinars per month, have been fleecing the pension fund coffers for over seven years.
Following the discovery of the fraud and Bahaa’s relentless effort to put an end to it, he was subjected to a massive attack by the government, interested parties and paid media. Following this massive attack, and in an absurd and macabre twist of fate, Bahaa Abdul Hussein went from whistleblower to accused.
Abdul Hadi’s trial took place before the Central Criminal Court of Anti-Corruption on January 24, 2021. He was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on the very same day. This, even though a court-ordered medical examination resulted in the issuance of medical reports attesting to the brutal torture he was subjected to.
Abdul Hadi’s lawyer submitted a request for a retrial to the Supreme Judicial Council, which was granted. The retrial took place on December 5, 2022, after which the Central Anti-Corruption Criminal Court sentenced Abdul Hadi to one year and 9 months’ imprisonment with a fine of ten million Iraqi Dinars. In January 2023, Abdul Hadi’s lawyer appealed his sentence, and the case is still pending.
Abdul Hadi was released on bail from Al-Rusafa prison 2 in Baghdad, Pending an Appeal.
Bahaa Abdul Hadi’s Arrest and Torture as Part of Committee 29’s Unlawful Actions
Bahaa Abdul Hadi is a victim of the notorious, and now defunct Committee 29. It was Committee 29 that launched the investigation into Abdul Hadi’s “actions”, despite the fact that he was a whistleblower who uncovered massive corruption and fraud. Unfortunately, Abdul Hadi was far from being Committee 29’s only victim.
On March 2, 2022, the Federal Court announced the dissolution of Committee No. 29 – the same committee that brought the false charges against Abdul Hadi and was responsible for his arrest and torture. The committee was dissolved on the basis that its establishment was unconstitutional.
On December 24, 2022, the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office announced that they had referred 3,000 complaints of violations committed by Committee No. 29 to the Public Prosecutor.
On March 7, 2023, MENA Rights Group seized the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) asking the UN experts to issue an Opinion as to the arbitrary nature of his detention.
On May 7, 2023, Shafaq News reported that the former deputy of the intelligence Agency of Iraq, Ahmad “Abu Ragheef”, who led Committee 29, also known as “Committee Abu Ragheef” , is under detention amid accusations of inhumane tactics and corruption.
Bahaa Abdul Hadi’s case clearly highlights the issue of corruption and unlawful persecution that Iraq has been facing and still faces. These in turn leads to severe human rights violations, as is the case of Abdul Hadi who underwent significant physical and mental torture.
Committee No. 29 has since been dissolved, but although Bahaa Abdul Hadi was released from prison , he is continuing to face injustice and violation of his human rights.
In addition to voices within Iraq who are calling for the end of these illegal actions and violation of human rights, the international community must also apply pressure on Baghdad to stop using torture and other human rights violations as part of its attempt to crack down on corruption and criminal activities.
-  https://alssaa.com/post/show/14013
-  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/12/21/iraq-kadhimi-corruption-committee-torture/
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_29
-  https://shafaq.com/en/Iraq-News/Former-intelligence-Abu-Ragheef-faces-five-year-sentence