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HRW requests probe into allegations of torture in Iraq jails

August 1, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Iraqi citizens protest against the government on 15 July 2018 [Hayder Abu Rizq/Anadolu Agency]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday requested Iraq investigate claims that its forces are torturing Daesh suspects in prison, adding that judges are convicting defendants based on coerced confessions.

“Torture is rampant in Iraq’s justice system, yet judges lack instructions for responding to torture allegations,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“Defendants, including ISIS [Daesh] suspects, won’t be able to get a fair trial so long as the security forces can freely torture people into confessing.”

Iraqi forces have arrested about 20,000 people on suspicion of affiliation with Daesh, which once controlled one third of the country.

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HRW said it reviewed a number of cases and found that defendants had been tried as a result of confessions obtained under torture, noting that it requested answers from judges but they did not reply to the claims.

The rights group noted that the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) reported in 2014 that “judges regularly fail to take any action when defendants raised allegations before the court that they had been subjected to torture in order to force confessions in relation to the crimes for which they were standing trial.”

It also said that Iraq’s Constitution prohibits “all forms of psychological and physical torture and inhumane treatment.”

Furthermore, Iraq’s Constitution states that “any confession made under force, threat or torture shall not be relied on, and the victim shall have the right to seek compensation for material and moral damages incurred in accordance with the law.”