Charges against Irish citizen held in Iraq are dropped but campaign for return continues

Yasser Eljuboori released on bail but still faces risks while he remains in Iraq, says legal counsel

Charges against Irish citizen Yasser Eljuboori, who was detained by Iraqi police in Baghdad earlier this week as he was about to board a flight back to Ireland, have been dropped and he has been released on bail.

Mr Eljuboori (37) was detained by Iraqi police at Baghdad airport in the early hours of Monday as he was getting a flight back to Ireland after visiting his mother, who is sick. Mr Eljuboori, who has almost 75,000 followers on X, has been a persistent critic of corruption within the Iraqi government.

A statement released on Thursday by the London based-Doughty Street Chambers, the firm representing Mr Eljuboori, said Iraq’s charges against him had been dropped and he would be released on bail. However, it said that Iraqi authorities had retained Mr Eljuboori’s passport and that there would be “two to three days of paperwork” to complete before he would be allowed to leave the country and return home to his family in Dublin.

Mr Eljuboori’s wife Laura Wickham described the news as “a step in the right direction” but said there was “still a long road ahead”.


“It is wonderful news that the charges have been dropped, but I will not stop campaigning until Yasser is safely home in Dublin Airport,” said Ms Wickham. “I call on the Iraqi authorities to return Yasser’s passport urgently, end this ordeal and allow him to return home.”

Ms Wickham thanked Tánaiste Micheál Martin and the Department of Foreign Affairs for their support before adding that they must “keep the pressure up and make clear to the Iraqi authorities that this case is not over until Yasser is safely home in Ireland”.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin welcomed the news that the charges have been dropped, saying he knows from speaking to Ms Wickham how difficult the past few days have been for the family.

“I hope today’s developments will go some way towards alleviating the stress they have been experiencing, but I understand that their deep worry will not ease until the moment they are reunited with Yasser in Dublin,” he said.

Mr Martin added: “Earlier this morning I had an open and constructive call with Dr Fuad Hussein, the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Iraq, on Mr Eljuboori’s case.

“Dr Hussein subsequently advised me that he had raised the case at the highest level and was confident that Mr Eljuboori would be released following the waiving of charges against him.

“Officials in my Department and our embassy in Jordan remain actively involved on this case and will continue to provide consular assistance until Mr Eljuboori is reunited with his family in Dublin,” Mr Martin said.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC, the well-known human rights barrister representing the family, welcomed the news that Mr Eljuboori was being released from custody following “an agonising four days of unjust and arbitrary detention, and mistreatment. He should never have been arrested, detained or charged in the first place, and his family should never have been put through this ordeal”.

“Regrettably we know from other cases that this is a danger point for Yasser, as there are continuing risks to him whilst he remains in Iraq,” said Ms Gallagher. “It is imperative that the Iraqi authorities know the world will continue to watch their actions until Yasser lands safely in Dublin Airport.”

Ms Gallagher also called on the Iraqi authorities to ensure Mr Eljuboori could leave the country “safely and speedily” and called on the Irish Government, the European Union External Action Service and the UN Special Procedures “to seek urgent assurances from the Iraqi authorities that Yasser will face no further impediments and will finally be allowed safe passage from Baghdad”.

On Wednesday, Ms Gallagher and her colleague, human rights lawyer Tatyana Eatwell, filed an urgent appeal with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture calling on the UN to “protect and safeguard” Mr Eljuboori, who was being held in an Iraqi jail.

It further states that Iraqi detention centres are well known for the use of “torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and that Mr Eljuboori is at “real risk of further ill treatment in detention given the events of the past three days and Iraq’s history of ill treatment of prisoners”.

Mr Eljuboori’s wife Laura Wickham said this week her husband was being held on a trumped-up charge of travelling on a false Irish passport. “That was ridiculous. He entered Iraq in September and there was no issue with his passport.”

Mr Eljuboori came to Ireland in 2007 following the chaos caused by the invasion of Iraq by the US-led coalition in 2003. The couple met in 2011 and were married in 2015. Mr Eljuboori became an Irish citizen in March 2022. He works for LinkedIn and he and his wife live in Balgriffin, Dublin with their three children, who are aged between two and five.

Ms Wickham described her husband as a “traditional gentleman” with a big personality. “He’s also great fun. He is very loving. He adores me and his kids. I’m his biggest fan and he is mine. He treasures us and he doesn’t take anything for granted.”

  • See our new project Common Ground, Evolving Islands: Ireland & Britain
  • Sign up for push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone
  • Find The Irish Times on WhatsApp and stay up to date
  • Our In The News podcast is now published daily – Find the latest episode here
Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times