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HRW denounces torture in Iraqi prisons, accuses judges of negligence

HRW denounces torture in Iraqi prisons, accuses courts of negligence

The US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) group says torture is ongoing in Iraq’s prisons, despite calls on government to take action.

The HRW also accused judges of deliberately neglecting torture allegations and relied on uncorroborated confessions in almost 20 cases in 18 months.
HRW said Iraqi judges had "routinely failed" to investigate credible reports of torture in detention.

HRW said Iraqi judges had "routinely failed" to investigate credible reports of torture in detention.

Iraqi officers have continued to torture detainees, said on Wednesday.


The rights group said it had reached out about last year's allegations to the Iraqi prime minister's office, the foreign ministry and the interior ministry, without response.

"If the Iraqi government ignores credible reports of torture, it's no wonder that the abuses persist," said Lama Fakih, HRW's deputy Middle East director.

The HRW called on member states of the International Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which will meet on September 26, 2019 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York to discuss accountability measures for ISIS crimes, to agree not to move ISIS suspects from Syria to Iraq until the Iraqi judicial system is able to ensure that criminal trials will comply with international fair trial standards and impose a moratorium on the death penalty.

The prisoner said guards also waterboarded detainees and suspended them from the ceiling with their hands tied behind their backs.

Iraq has since tried thousands of its own citizens, as well as hundreds of foreigners, for affiliation to the armed group.

But rights groups including HRW say the accused are often detained on lofty or circumstantial evidence, their trials do not guarantee due process, and that torture is widespread in Iraq's prison system.

In a press release on Wednesday, HRW said Iraqi judges had "routinely failed" to investigate credible reports of torture in detention.

The group urged Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi's government to publicly condemn the use of torture by all law enforcement, security and military personnel.

"Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi's government should demonstrate to the Iraqi people that it is serious about ending torture in Iraq's detention facilities," Fakih said.

"Strong actions are needed," she said.

Earlier this month, the group said, Iraq's High Judicial Council told HRW that Iraqi courts had investigated 275 complaints against investigative officers by the end of 2018.

The council said 176 had been "resolved," without providing details of the outcome, while 99 were still being addressed.


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