Iraqi singer Melad Al Sayad disappeared since abduction on February 23, 2020

Iraqi singer Melad Al Sayad disappeared since abduction on February 23, 2020

Melad Al Sayad is a well-known Iraqi activist and singer who was abducted on February 23, 2020 shortly after returning from an anti-government demonstration. His whereabouts and fate remain unknown despite steps taken by his family to locate him.
Latest Updates
March 18, 2020: MENA Rights Group requests the urgent intervention of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances.
February-March 2020: Al Sayad’s family enquire about his fate in several hospitals in Baghdad, but to no avail.
February 25-26, 2020: Al Sayad’s family consult the detainees’ registries of the detention centre run by the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) in Basra and of the Muthana airport prison.
February 23, 2020: Al Sayad is abducted by unknown men beside his home in Baghdad.

Melad Al Sayad is a well-known activist in Iraq who had joined several peaceful demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square when the protests began in October 2019. On October 1, 2019, he was critically injured by a tear gas grenade fired by the anti-riot police.

At 11 pm on 23 February 2020, Al Sayad was returning from an anti-government demonstration when eight armed men wearing civilian clothes suddenly abducted him outside his home and forced him into one of their vehicles, which were both civilian pickup trucks without license plates. Shortly afterwards, his neighbours, who had witnessed the arrest, quickly informed Al Sayad’s family and a police patrol visited his family home to question them about the circumstances of his abduction. Before leaving, the police officers told the family that they would keep them updated of any new developments, however, Al Sayad’s relatives have yet to hear from them since.

Although Al Sayad’s relatives have not received any information concerning the perpetrators responsible for his enforced disappearance, they believe he was abducted by a militia acting with the authorisation, support, acquiescence or approval of the Iraqi government. On February 25, 2020, the family went to the detention centre run by the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) in Basra to consult the detainees’ registries and then visited the Muthana airport prison the next day – only to obtain the same answer from the prison authorities. In February and March, Al Sayad’s family searched for him in several hospitals in Baghdad, but to no avail.

On March 18, 2020, MENA Rights Group requested the urgent intervention of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances. Al Sayad’s fate and whereabouts remain unknown.