Amnesty International recently reported that it believes 30,000 people are currently held in Iraqi jails, and the same kinds of abuses that went on under Saddam and American forces are still going on. From Al Jazeera:
Amnesty’s 59-page report, titled “New Order, Same Abuses: Unlawful detentions and torture in Iraq,” highlights the case of several men who were subjected to torture or who died in prison.
Among them was Riad Mohammed Saleh al-Oqaibi, arrested in September 2009 and held in a detention facility in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone before being transferred to a secret detention facility elsewhere in the capital.
“During interrogation, he is said to have been beaten so hard on the chest that his ribs were broken and his liver damaged,” the report noted. “He died on 12 or 13 February as a result of internal bleeding.”
According to the rights group, methods of torture used against detainees include beatings with cables and hose-pipes, breaking of limbs, piercing of the body with drills and psychological torture in the form of threats with rape.
In addition to the central Iraqi government, the report blamed security forces in the autonomous region of Kurdistan of also being at fault, noting one case in which a detainee had been held for more than 10 years without charge or trial. That detainee was allegedly tortured by Kurdish security police.
Iraq’s fractured penal system means the ministries of justice, interior and defence all run their own prison networks, and reports of torture and mistreatment are common, the report concluded.
Human Rights Watch said in April that Iraqi men were raped, electrocuted and beaten in a “secret prison” in Baghdad, while MPs called for an independent enquiry into prison abuse in a parliamentary debate in June 2009.
Ramze Shihab Ahmed, 68, is an Iraqi refugee in the UK. He was arrested while on a visit to Iraq in 2009, and no-one knew where he was being held or what, if anything, he had been charged with. He left to Iraq in the first place, to find out the faith of his son Omar, after receiving information he was arrested by Iraqi police.
His wife Rabiha, 63, told Al Jazeera: “Ramze was very worried about Omar. We didn’t know why he had been arrested, and he said he must go to Iraq to help him,” Rabiha says. “He didn’t think he would be in any danger at all.”
Rabiha claims her husband confessed to terrorism charges under torture.
“They beat him. They put a plastic bag on his head until he lost consciousness, and then they woke him with electric shocks. They told him that if he didn’t confess, they would make his son rape him. They put a wooden stick into his anus,” she told Al Jazeera. “They have abused him in every way.”
The Iraqi government admits 4500 people have been released due to lack of evidence since April. No chance al-Oqaibi or Ahmed or the other victims were innocent, right? Read more here.