A new report released today has found that 10 years after the US-led invasion, Iraq remains “enmeshed in a grim cycle of human rights abuses, including attacks on civilians, torture of detainees and unfair trials.”
The news follows on from a damning investigation which last week revealed the Pentagon sent high ranking officials to manage secret detention and torture units in Iraq.
Today, the Amnesty International report, Iraq: A Decade of Abuses, highlights a decade of abuse by Iraqi security forces and foreign troops who show callous disregard for civilian life, their failure to uphold human rights, respect the rule of law and exposes the torture and ill-treatment of detainees.
Torture methods include beatings, suffocation, electric shocks; including to the genitals; and deprivation of food, water and sleep.
The report says:
“Thousands of Iraqis are detained without trial or are serving prison sentences imposed after unfair trials, torture remains rife and continues to be committed with impunity, and the new Iraq is one of the world’s leading executioners.”
Detainees are being tortured as a means of forcing them to ‘confess’ to crimes or to incriminate others.
“In December 2011, Iraqi TV stations broadcast testimonies of at least three detained former bodyguards of the office of Vice President Tareq al-Hasemi in which they accuse him of ordering them to murder government and security officials.”
447 prisoners have been executed since 2003.
Last year the government hanged 129 prisoners and currently holds 37,000, of whom 21,000 have been sentenced, making the country one of the world’s leading executioners.
“Ten years after the end of Saddam Hussein’s repressive rule, many Iraqis today enjoy greater freedoms than they did under his Ba’athist regime, but the fundamental human rights gains that should have been achieved during the past decade have signally failed to materialize,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.
“Neither the Iraqi government nor the former occupying powers have adhered to the standards required of them under international law and the people of Iraq are still paying a heavy price for their failure.
“Death sentences and executions are being used on a horrendous scale,” said Hadj Sahraoui, “It is particularly abhorrent that many prisoners have been sentenced to death after unfair trials and on the basis of confessions they say they were forced to make under torture.
“It is high time that the Iraqi authorities end this appalling cycle of abuse and declare a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty for all crimes.
“Iraq remains caught in a cycle of torture and impunity that should long ago have been broken. It is high time that the Iraqi authorities take the concrete steps needed to entrench a culture of human rights protection, and do so without further prevarication or delay.”
At the time of publication, there has been no reaction from the Iraqi government.