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Iraq: 4,600 drug-related arrests, convictions this year

Image of drugs [Dimitris Kalogeropoylos/Flickr]
Drugs [Dimitris Kalogeropoylos/Flickr]

Iraq has seen 4,594 drug-related arrests and convictions since the beginning of the year, a member of the country’s Human Rights Commission announced yesterday, adding that the figures exclude the Kurdistan Region as it has its own narcotics enforcement agencies and forces.

“Drug trafficking and abuse have become a phenomenon that threatens the family and society. The main factors that have led to an increase in drug use are economic, social, and psychological reasons, as well as higher rates of domestic violence and the general security situation,” said Fadhel Al-Gharawi in a statement.

According to news site Rudaw, Al-Gharawi revealed that 4,594 arrests and convictions had been made in relation to such crimes. Drug trafficking and abuse have become a pressing security issue, as the statement said it threatens both the family and society, with increased rates brought on by economic, social and psychological problems.

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He added that “the number of people arrested and convicted in cases of the drug trade and abuse for the year 2018 reached 9,328 cases, while in 2019 only 6,407 cases were recorded. As for the year 2020, from the beginning of the year until Sept. 1, 2020, the number of detainees and convicts in cases of the drug trade and abuse reached 4,594 with the exception of the Kurdistan Region.”

According to data released by the commission, “crystal” and Captagon, which is an amphetamine-based drug, nicknamed the “jihadist drug” over its popularity with Daesh fighters, have the highest levels of abuse in the country. Kurdistan24 explains that the term “crystal” can refer to both crystal meth but also high-purity street level heroin sometimes known as “kerack”.

Al-Gharawi urged the government to “start a campaign to prosecute organised crime gangs and deal with water and land passages that still represent a crossing point for drug trafficking”.

Most of the drugs trafficked into Iraq come via the porous border with Iran, destined to Turkey, Syria, and Europe and North America.

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