Wife of Irish citizen facing charges in Iraq hopeful case will not proceed

Yasser Eljuboori  looking directly at the camera, wearing a multi-coloured check shirt
Yasser Eljuboori was detained by Iraqi police earlier this week after he tried to board a flight back to Dublin (maeve-2020)

NEW charges against an Irish citizen being detained in Iraq may not go ahead, his wife has said.

Anti-corruption campaigner Yasser Eljuboori had travelled to Iraq using his Irish passport to visit relatives, but he was arrested at Baghdad Airport by authorities on February 26 as he has due to fly home.

RTÉ has reported that his family in Iraq were told he was being detained over defamation charges against Iraqi political leaders including the prime minister.

Regularly highlighting corruption issues in Iraq using his X account, he appeared in court last Thursday to be told his charges had been dropped.

His passport was kept from him in order for paper work to be completed to allow for his flight back to Dublin, but at a hearing on Sunday he was informed he was now facing two additional charges relating to social media posts.

This was under Article 226 of Iraq’s penal code, which criminalises “any person who publicly insults” public authorities or officials.

Mr Eljuboori’s wife, Laura Wickham, has now said that both of the new complainants had hinted to his legal team they would not proceed with the charges.

He is expected to appear in court again on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, Ms Wickham spoke of the stressful wait to see her husband released.

“The initial confusion at Yasser’s disappearance, the terror as I learned the news of his arrest, detention and criminal charges brought against him by the prime minister, the relief when he was released, and now despair at these latest developments,” she said.

“This feels like a cruel game, an ongoing torment playing with Yasser’s freedom.

“Our children miss their dad and I miss my husband. I call on the Iraqi authorities to allow Yasser to return home. Every additional day and hour that he spends in Baghdad puts him at risk of further bogus charges,” she said.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC, is an Irish solicitor based in London who is handling Mr Eljuboori’s case.

She called it “particularly cruel” that her client had been told he would be home within days “when in fact new charges were being prepared behind the scenes which would keep him trapped in Baghdad, unable to return home to his family”.