A Human Rights Watch statement today accused Iraqi officials of allowing torture to continue in Mosul detention facilities.
“If the Iraqi government ignores credible reports of torture, it’s no wonder that the abuses persist,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
“What will it take for the authorities to take torture allegations seriously?”
The statement reports the testimony of a former prisoner of a jail in Faisaliya prison which is east of Mosul. “Five guards and an officer strapped each detainee in turn, still naked, onto an orange gurney and tipped it backward so that the detainee’s feet were raised above his head and covered his face with a towel,” HRW said.
“For about five minutes, they beat each one with plastic piping while pouring water over his mouth.”
Further abuse was reported, including kickings, beatings, and prisoners being hoisted from the ceiling using a hook and pulley. The people in custody were accused of being members of Daesh.
The ex-prisoner accused four interior ministry officers of actively participating in the violations.
HRW validated the reports by comparing his recollection of the layout of the facility with other testimonies.
It went on to urge the Iraqi government to act to end the practice and condemn the use of torture.
“Strong actions are needed,” Fakih said.
Earlier this month, it 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.
Diagram of the cells where Mahmoud said he was held in Faisaliya Prison from January until May 2018 © 2018 John Holmes for Human Rights Watch.
In August 2018, another report published by HRW alleged the use of torture in three prisons near Mosul. It detailed the testimonies of two former prisoners and the father of a man who lost his son while he was detained.
HRW has accused Iraq’s High Judicial Council of failing to address the allegations after the 2018 report was made public.
“Iraqi judges, despite the extensive credible reports of torture in detention, routinely fail to investigate torture allegations,” they said.
This week, Iraqi officials began court proceedings against 900 suspected Daesh militants at a mass trial in Baghdad.