Monday, August 2, 2010

Breaking the Torture Routine (Iraq)

From: Lauren Jenkins at EPIC
Date: August 2, 2010 12:54:42 PM EDT

Subject: Breaking the torture routine

Promoting a Free & Secure Iraq

Held in a secret detention facility for months, Iraqi prisoners were subjected to electric shocks, blindfolded, hung upside down, and beaten. This torture, as described to Human Rights Watch researchers in April, was systematic and routine and has yet to be properly investigated by the Iraqi government.

Recently, EPIC had the opportunity to speak with Samer Muscati, one of the HRW researchers who interviewed these prisoners about the abuses they faced at Muthanna detention facility. What he and his colleagues found was that the prisoners they spoke to described being tortured in similar ways, as if the perpetrators were doing it using a manual.

(Refer to) the first part of our interview with Samer Muscati of Human Rights Watch

Torture in prisons in Iraq is not uncommon, but the routine nature of the torture discovered at Muthanna is particularly alarming. Samer explained that Iraqi officials use torture as a way to elicit confessions--it's the preferred method of collecting evidence. Torture in Iraq is a product of the criminal justice system.

When the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry discovered the secret facility at Muthanna, it launched an investigation into the abuses there. Unfortunately, the Human Rights Ministry's report on the abuses at Muthanna has yet to be acted upon by other government officials. No one has been investigated or prosecuted for the crimes that happened there.

(Refer to) more of what Samer had to say on torture in Iraqi prisons

In addition to routine abuse, the prisoners held at Muthanna also had no access to legal counsel or their families. In fact, Samer says across Iraq, most families have a difficult time finding their loved ones held in detention.

Promoting human rights in Iraq means promoting human rights for all Iraqis, prisoners included. The international community must continue to put pressure on the Iraqi government investigate claims of torture in Iraqi prisons. The Iraqi government must take legislative steps to enforce the rule of law within the criminal justice system.

Torture has a long history in Iraq, but it does not have to be a part of Iraq's future.


Lauren Jenkins
National Coordinator

EPIC: Promoting a Free & Secure Iraq works to build peace through the advancement of human rights, humanitarian relief and sustainable development that benefits all Iraqis.

900 Second Street NE, Suite 216
Washington, DC 20002

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