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Sunday, July 03, 2005

New Iraqi govt using torture

Today, The Guardian's Observer will run a story giving details of horrific torture allegedly used by the new Iraqi government's forces. Tomorrow, the Iraqi government will respond to the allegations by admitting that the incidents occur, but denying that they are caused by any government policy.

The story refers first to the HRW report The New Iraq? Torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Iraqi custody (blog entry reference), in which it was reported that Iraqi police, jailers and intelligence agents, many of them holding the same jobs they had under Hussein, are "committing systematic torture and other abuses" of detainees. Several of the detainees claim that US Marines were present and observed their torture.

The Observer adds more serious allegations to those of HRW, giving an overview of widespread torture tactics, and detailing some individual cases. It links them to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, and the police commando units that operate from there. The abuses credited to them are summarised below.

The Observer includes the following general tactics:

  • extra-judicial executions
  • a 'ghost' network of detention facilities
  • tortured and executed victims dumped in shallow graves
The Observer includes the following case studies, and notes that it includes "methods resurrected from the time of Saddam". I have provided a link for tactics reminiscent of those more recently employed by the Coalition of the Willing:
  • Hassan an-Ni'ami. His capture by the Ministry of Interior's paramilitary police commandos "Rapid Intrusion" was reported on television. His corpse was found with the following:
  • Corpses of farmers found in shallow graves showed the following evidences:
    • bullet to the head suggesting execution
    • face blackened by strangulation
    • bruises to the forehead
    • evidence of punch in the eye
    • fractured ankle
    • burn marks
    • puncture wounds consistent with the use of a spiked "knuckle-duster"
  • Tahar Mohammed Suleiman al-Mashhadani seized by Ministry of the Interior paramilitary police Rapid Intrusion (part of the "Wolf Brigade"). He was found by his family 20 days later, his corpse tortured almost beyond recognition.
  • 'Zaid', who spoke to the reporters, alleges he was taken by the Ministry of the Interior, and there saw men who had been tortured.
  • 'Abu Ali' claims that he was:
    • beaten on the feet
    • hung by his arms
    • threatened with anal penetration by a bottle


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