Contestants Miss Iraq, Sarah Eedan (R) and Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman (L) pose together for a selfie, during preparations for the Miss Universe 2017 beauty pageant in Las Vegas, United States November 13, 2017.
(photo credit: SARAH IDAN/SOCIAL MEDIA/VIA REUTERS)
Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan has turned to Twitter to halt a drive in Baghdad to strip her of her Iraqi citizenship after she spoke in defense of Israel at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last month.
In a separate speech at the UNHRC, she also spoke out against Iraqi human rights abuses. Idan, who now lives in California, also made waves in November 2017 when she posed for an Instagram photo with Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman at the Miss Universe beauty pageant.
Idan tweeted, “2 weeks ago Iraq denied my statements at the UN that I don’t have freedom to speak about Israel; now they’re taking my citizenship. This is inhumane. I’m speechless…”
She then posted an article she saw in the Iraqi media about the issue, explaining that it spoke of “support to Abolish the Nationality of Miss Iraq & Prevent her Entry & return into Iraq because of its Statements Concerning Israel.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair immediately tweeted his support for Idan.
“We love you in Israel! you have a lot of fans in Israel, America and around the world!,” he wrote.
Idan tweeted back: “Thank you, Iraq wants to do to me what they did to Iraqi Jews back in Farhoud: take my citizenship & not allow me to return. I must fight to keep it cause this is a fight not just for my rights but also against antisemitism. Hope both Israel & US step in to fight this decision.”
She also appealed through Twitter to US President Donald Trump to pick up her cause. Referencing her work as a translator with US troops in Iraq, she wrote: “I fought beside US to end tyranny & deliver democracy to Iraq. Freedom of speech is the base of democracy & must be protected."
Idan continued, “I urge the @UN @realDonaldTrump to investigate this decision & put an end to this abuse & protect my rights as an Iraqi American citizen.”
UN Watch director-general Hillel Neuer told The Jerusalem Post
that it was illegal to stop citizenship over a UN speech and that he was writing to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on her behalf.
He also tweeted in support of her right to speak at the UN. ".@AntonioGuterres: I hereby report Iraqi MP Ali al-Ghanmi for threatening to remove Sarah Idan's citizenship in retaliation for her UNHRC testimony. This amounts to an illegal reprisal for cooperating with the UN, in breach of UNGA Res. 72/247 & UNHRC Res. 36/21, “ Neuer wrote.
“We urge you to dispatch an immediate demarche to @IraqUN Ambassador Bahr Aluloom & demand an end to intimidation of a witness for her testimony before the UN, as expressly stated by MP al-Ghanmi, member of Iraq's Security & Defense Committee,” he wrote.
Idan is the recipient of this year's UN Watch’s Ambassador for Peace Award.
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