Irish citizen Yasser Eljuboori has been released on bail after the charges against him in Baghdad, Iraq were dropped today, Thursday, February 29.

However, Iraqi authorities have retained Eljuboori's passport - he has been informed that there are “two to three days of paperwork” to complete before he will be allowed to leave the country and return home to his family in Dublin.

Eljuboori, who lives in Dublin with his wife Laura Wickham and their three children, is an Irish citizen and he entered Iraq, reportedly for a weeklong visit to see his ailing mother, as an Irish citizen with an Irish passport.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC and Tatyana Eatwell of Doughty Street Chambers are acting as counsel for the family ever since he was detained and imprisoned in Baghdad on Monday.

Gallagher described Eljuboori as "a well-known and internationally respected anti-corruption activist, who has a proud history of holding Iraq’s leaders to account and raising corruption and human rights concerns."

Eljuboori was detained at 2:30 am Irish time on Monday. There was no initial reason given for his detention, and he was not permitted to contact his family.

He appeared in court on Tuesday and was detained for a further two days.

The law firm said on Thursday that Eljuboori, his family, and his local and international legal teams now understand that he had been charged under Article 226 of the Publication Law, under the Iraqi Penal Code.

"Defamation and libel are criminal offences in Iraq, and Article 226 contains a broadly framed, vague and ill-defined offence of 'publicly insulting' any public authority or official, a crime punishable by up to seven years’ imprisonment," the law firm said.

"Article 226 has been heavily criticised by international free speech and human rights groups, as it has been used to target journalists, human rights defenders and anti-corruption activists.

"It is understood that the charges against Mr Eljuboori relate to his anti-corruption work and alleged criticism of the Prime Minister on the social media platform, X (formerly Twitter)."

The law firm added on Thursday that given his arrest, detention, and treatment, Eljuboori has been on hunger strike since Monday. 

However, later on Thursday, the law firm reported that Eljuboori learned in court in Baghdad that the charges against him have been dropped and he will be released on bail, though there are “two to three days of paperwork” to complete before he will be allowed to leave the country and return to Ireland.

“This is a step in the right direction but there is a long road still ahead to bring Yasser home to us in Dublin," Eljuboori's wife, speaking from Dublin, said on Thursday. 

"It is wonderful news that the charges have been dropped, but I will not stop campaigning until Yasser is safely home in Dublin airport. 

"I call on the Iraqi authorities to return Yasser’s passport urgently, end this ordeal and allow him to return home. 

"I thank the Tánaiste and the Department of Foreign Affairs for the support which has brought us to this point. But now I call upon them to keep the pressure up and make clear to the Iraqi authorities that this case is not over until Yasser is safely home in Ireland.”

Ireland's Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin welcomed news of Eljuboori's release, stating that he hopes the developments will go "some way towards alleviating the stress" that his family has experienced. 

Martin held a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq Dr. Fuad Hussein on Eljuboori's case and said Dr. Hussein gave assurances that he would raise the case at the highest level. 

"Officials in my department and our embassy in Jordan remain actively involved in this case and will continue to provide consular assistance until Mr. Eljuboori is reunited with his family in Dublin," Martin said in a statement. 

My statement on the case of Irish citizen Yasser Eljuboori.

— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) February 29, 2024