Khalid Jarrar: Iraqi blogger detained

freekhalidBlogger Khalid Jarrar, author of Secrets in Baghdad, remains in custody of the Iraqi intelligence service, known as the Mukhabarat.

As we reported yesterday, Khalid's brother Raed says their family was relieved to hear on Thursday morning that Khalid is still alive after going missing for two days. On Sunday, Khalid described on his blog how his apartment in Baghdad had been broken into and his hard drive was stolen. Soon after that he disappeared.

Khalid's family are calling for his release, or at very least that he be charged and tried for something. Raed says: “Our goal now is to ask the mokhabarat to take Khalid to court and reveal what exactly he is being charged with (if anything).”

The Committee to Protect Bloggers supports the Jarrar family's appeals.

Please show your support for the Khalid Jarrar by posting supportive comments at Raed's and Khalid's latest posts. If you're a blogger, please help spread the word by linking to them.


  • Rufus Lee King

    So being a blogger automatically gets you support?

    On his blog he prominently declares himself “anti-American government” for being anti-God, anti-life, anti-humanity and anti-truth.

    I guess that instantly qualifies him for support with some mindsets.

  • Rufus Lee King

    I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t being rash in suspending judgment on Mr. Jarar’s alleged wrongdoing.

    But here is an excerpt from his blog in which he exhorts that Americans be killed and that Iraqi’s, including the police, should follow the resitance and kill Americans.

    “what about the rest of the resistance, that aren’t put on TV? The honest people? The ones that are dedicating their lives to fight the occupation? The ones that volunteer all their money and time, and risk their lives without getting paid? does that mean that, if someone, was fighting the Americans while he isn’t gay or a rapist, and wasn’t paid by the Syrians, and doesn’t kidnap people, and fights the Americans cause he have faith in his cause, if someone fights for moral reasons, and kills so many American solders every day, would he get the full support of the Iraqi government? :*)
    Another question: if the police would follow any real mojahideen at once, then why don’t they start their own mojahideen squad and fight the Americans, to be a good example for the rest of the Iraqis? :*) ”

    I guess Khalid gives little weight to the fact that his government was elected by the Iraqi people. Or to the fact that the Americans fought and died for that democratic power they now enjoy. His views are a measure of the diversity of beliefs in an aspiring free society.

    But to wonder why the Iraqi security forces take a dim view of his public mobilization of enemy support of those who target children and innocents and fight democracy, is, I believe, not very insightful.

  • Rufus,
    It’s pretty clear if you read that entire post all the way through that the paragraphs you cite were written sarcastically.

    Yes, the Khalid family is against the U.S. presence in Iraq. Global Voices as a whole is neither pro nor anti occupation and we link to Iraqi bloggers from both sides of that debate. But here is where we take a firm stand: we believe in the right to free speech of all people, whether or not they are fans of U.S. government policies. Detention of a peaceful blogger without charges or explanation is unacceptable and illegitimate behavior by any government’s security forces, no matter how that government came to power. If he is given a fair trial and it turns out he broke the law, then that’s another thing. But if he’s being detained because Iraq’s security forces take a dim view of his blog, that does not bode well for the future of free speech in Iraq.

    Thanks for your views. These are tough issues and they deserve debate.

  • The Committee to Protect Bloggers does not care what your opinion is, only that you be allowed — all other things being equal — to express it without being snatched up and held indefinitely by a police or security service. If in fact Khalid is guilty of something, fine, charge him _in_open_court_. If you have nothing to charge him with, let him free.

    Our organizations has so many different points of view, political, religious and otherwise. But the one thing we agree on is that we all have a vested interest in the ability for everyone to openly express and debate. Even those members of the CPB who don’t believe in an unrestrained marketplace for goods and services believe in one for ideas.

    Rufus asks, “So being a blogger automatically gets you support?” For myself personally, the answer is: You better believe it does. Bloggers should be allowed to speak their minds. Why? Because they’re human beings and they’re citizens.

  • Rufus: Can you accept that the actual Republican administration denies freedom of expression to American Democrats or the contrary because they don’t have the same political views?

    No one on this earth holds the truth and that’s why freedom of expression is sacred and that’s why Justice must keep independent.

    If the US wants Iraq to be an example of democracy in the region then freedom of expression must be the first democratic law to respect.

    In most of the Arab countries this freedom was denied and people who think differently from the official point of view were persecuted. Conclusion they became terrorists!

  • […] Rebecca MacKinnon writes on Global Voices Online that an Iraqi blogger went missing for two days and is now in the custody of the Iraqi intelligence service. As we reported yesterday, Khalid’s brother Raed says their family was relieved to hear on Thursday morning that Khalid is still alive after going missing for two days. On Sunday, Khalid described on his blog how his apartment in Baghdad had been broken into and his hard drive was stolen. Soon after that he disappeared. […]

  • Rufus Lee King


    OK, it is possible that I got the context of the messages wrong. I’ll look at them further. Just as possible is that the Iraqi Intelligence people took these words the same way I did and as they are susceptible to be taken: As an incitement to violent crimes against their people and fledgling democracy.

    In the US, steeped in the utmost traditions of free speech, incitement to criminal activity is nontheless NOT protected under the First Amendment as pure “speech”. Because it is also criminal conduct, it is fully actionable under conspiracy and accessory liabilty for the underlying crimes it seeks.

    How much more threatening is such speech in a terrorism dominated war zone. And the kinds of acts this example can be taken to condone are inflicting their deadly blows against the Iraqi democracy and its aspirations of constitutional free speech rights ever coming to fruition to allow bloggers to enjoy protection in Iraq.

    So free speech, as well as criminal procedure, are creatures of civil order. And that is still far from being secured in Iraq, which could be pushed further to martial law by widespread enemy collaborations as this speech might be taken to be.

    It should be a lesson to free speech lovers everywhere, including in the US. Taken to sufficient proximity to governmental overthrow and revolutionary collusion, such free speech may extinguish its own source of protection.

  • Rufus Lee King


    I agree that an independent judiciary is a cornerstone of human rights being maintained in a system of laws.

    But I disagree that, in a military and/or terrorist assault on governmental structures and people, that the only tactic for rights preservation is to allow free speech of any kind to go unbridled. Speech that inflicts illegal harm against a nation must often be stopped to protect the larger governmental protection of lawful speech and other rights. The right to bodily survival, for example, is even more fundamental than free speech, but may be lost by governmental overthrow.

  • dear all-

    here’s the link to the online petition to release khalid jarrar:

    do sign, please.


    –matthias s. klein*

  • Rufus Lee King


    I went and re-read, many times, the article from which I quoted from Mr. Jarrar’s website. I was looking for clues of sarcasm that you assured me was behind his words about the wisdom of killing Americans.

    I still must be too dense to find the clues telling us he was not really urging the targetting of Iraq’s American security forces. Especially when he follows his killing Americans as a moral imperitive spiel with:

    “And at the same time, they are honoring mojahideen by saying that jihad is a very honorable value and that those criminals couldn’t be mojahideen (which i agree with), which means that they support the others that they don’t show on TV, who are the real mojahideen!”

    “And at the same time the government confessed that jihad is a very legitimate and honorable thing, as long as it’s done right: by attacking the American soldiers only.
    Thank you very much propaganda makers!
    You know what else is funny?”

    At which time he ends with a joke about duping American security forces.

    In other randomly jumped-to archive posts, he variously explains:

    How American soldiers who may look like nice people should not distract from the fact that they came and stole the country, destroyed it all themselves, massacred the Iraqi people, and installed phony press and broadcast entities showing bad leaders who falsely tell of good results of the occupation.

    How the evidence supports that the car bombings of innocents might really be American acts which they falsely blame the resistance for.

    So my puzzlment continues as to why you or others would feel that Iraqi Intelligence is wrongly concerned about these kinds of statements by Mr. Jarrar which would seem to encourage support of the forces their democracy and populace is under daily, deadly attack from.

    Since the Global Voices FAQ goals statement says, “One thing, however: We are against hate, we are against racism and bigotry, and we are against violence and terrorism. We will avoid linking to bloggers who we think fall under this description”, I urge you to reconsider your organizational statement of support for Mr. Jarrar’s blog, statements and goals.

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