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Iraq to investigate torture, disappearance of protesters

May 27, 2020 at 10:01 am

Iraqi people stage a protest against the new government, in Baghdad, Iraq on 2 February 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Iraq yesterday vowed to investigate cases of torture, abduction and enforced disappearance among protesters during demonstrations in the country over the previous months.

This came in response to a report issued by the United Nations Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) on Saturday, which stated that 490 people were killed, 7,783 were injured and 25 others disappeared during demonstrations from the beginning of October 2019 to 21 March 2020.

The media office of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said in a statement that the government had reviewed the special report from the United Nations Human Rights Office in Iraq entitled “Abductions, torture and enforced disappearances in the context of ongoing demonstrations in Iraq.”

The media office added that the Iraqi government “is committed to an impartial and independent investigation into all the events referred to in the report, in accordance with the ministerial curriculum.”

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“The Iraqi government’s keenness and commitment to human rights and dignity and respect for the international covenants signed by Iraq in this regard.”

Activists have been subjected to coordinated attacks such as assassinations, abductions and torture in secret places, since the outbreak of popular protests in early October.

The previous and current governments have pledged to pursue those responsible for these operations, which are nonetheless repeated, while armed activists accuse pro-Iran Shia factions of being behind such operations. However, the leaders of those factions deny the accusations.

Demonstrators accuse officials of corruption and wasting state funds. They have been calling for them to be held accountable.

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