Kidnapping of Jalal Sharafi
Gunmen kidnapped Jalal Sharafi, the second secretary of the Iranian embassy, as he drove through Karrada district in central Baghdad, Iraq on 6 February 2007. The gunmen wore uniforms of the Iraqi 36th Commando Battalion uniforms. - a special Iraqi unit under U.S. direction. The U.S. military denied any involvement in the kidnapping. After his release on April 3, the diplomat claimed he was tortured by CIA operatives. The U.S. government denies that they had involvement in the kidnapping and alleged torture of Sharafi.
The event happened amid U.S.-Iranian tension over alleged Iranian activities in Iraq. In December 2006, US forces detained several Iranians in Iraq who were suspected by the Americans of planning attacks. Iran said two were diplomats, and they were later freed. On 2007-01-10, U.S. President Bush stated in a major speech that he will take a tough stance on Iran, whom he accuses of destabilising Iraq. On 2007-01-11 US troops in Irbil raided a building Iran said was a consulate, arresting five men. On 2007-01-18 Iran demanded the release of the five Iranians claimed as diplomats. The U.S. government says they are Revolutionary Guardsmen arming Shi'a Iraqi fighters.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said, "elements related to the Iraqi defence ministry who are known to be under U.S. control" were responsible for the kidnapping and the U.S. government has "violated all international and diplomatic norms by launching such operations which will in general have negative impacts on diplomatic norms around the world."
The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement, "We learned with concern about the kidnapping of a member of the Iranian embassy in Baghdad. We condemn this unacceptable act."
On April 3, 2007, almost two months after Sharafi was taken, Iranian news agencies reported his release. This has been linked with the simultaneous release by Iran of the 15 British sailors who had been arrested for allegedly entering Iranian territorial waters.
After his release, Sharafi reported severe torture, stating he was subjected to different forms of torture day and night while being kept in a CIA base, in order for him to confess to Iran's "presence and influence in Iraq". He stated: "I explained I was unable to do anything outside my legal responsibilities ... Later, they released me under pressure from Iraqi government officials. They dropped me near the back of the airport." The U.S. government responded by claiming that the CIA "does not conduct or condone torture." One day after Sharafi was released, the 15 sailors captured by Iran during the 2007 Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel were released, leading to speculation that there was a connection in the events, though all governments officially deny this.
On April 11, a clearly thin Sharafi, while in a wheelchair and receiving intravenous fluids, attended a press conference with the help of doctors. Sharafi stated that the representative of the American embassy, who was in charge "first had a peaceful message but then when I did not answer his baseless accusations he and the Iraqi translator started beating me ... Then they brought on a machine to drill holes into my feet. They tied my feet and hands and lashed my soles hundreds of times with cables and kicked and punched me ... They performed mock executions while my eyes were blindfolded and my hands and feet were bound." The United States government insisted they didn't have any involvement in this incident and does not condone torture. The International Committee of the Red Cross, who examined Sharafi, confirmed the wounds were caused in the recent past, but refused to conclude that it was as a result of torture during his detainment.
- Iran envoy 'abducted in Baghdad' BBC News
- US denies involvement in kidnapping of Iranian diplomat CCTV International
- Red Cross witness checks the scars of the Iranian Diplomat tortured by the CIA - Global Research
- US denies torturing Iranian diplomat - AFP
- U.S. denies Iranian claim of CIA torture - Associated Press
- Iran harshly condemns kidnapping of diplomat, blames US Playfuls
- France condemns kidnapping of Iranian diplomat in Iraq Kuwait News Agency
- Iranian diplomat seized in Iraq released ABC News International
- Iranian says he was tortured in Iraq-AP
- Kidnapped Iranian shows 'US torture wounds'-AFP