Iraq: "Disappearance" of Shi'a clerics and students
Grand Ayatollah Abu al-Qassem al-Kho'i, Shi'a Islam's most senior cleric, was taken into custody on 20 March 1991 following an armed raid on his residence in the southern city of al-Najaf. Seven members of his family were also arrested and during the following days some 100 people, including students, aides and staff of the Grand Ayatollah were arrested. The arrests took place in the context of the suppression of the uprising which followed the Gulf War. The Grand Ayatollah remained effectively under house arrest until his death on 8 August 1992. Of those arrested with him, only two have been released; there has been no news of the fate of the others. AI believes that they have "disappeared". A list of those 106 people feared "disappeared" is appended.