Annual Report: Iraq 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Iraq 2013

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  • On 5 January, at least 55 civilians, including Shi'a pilgrims making their way to Karbala, were killed and dozens injured in suicide bombings and other attacks. The attacks targeted predominantly Shi'a districts in Baghdad, including Sadr City and Khadimiya, and a police checkpoint near al-Nassirya where pilgrims were waiting to travel south.
  • At least 100 people, both civilians and members of the security forces, were killed on 23 July in a wave of bomb attacks and shootings in Baghdad and other cities, including Kirkuk and Taji.
  • At least 81 people, including many civilians, were killed on 9 September in a wave of co-ordinated bomb attacks in Baghdad, Baquba, Samarra, Basra and other cities.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Torture and other ill-treatment were common and widespread in prisons and detention centres, particularly those controlled by the Ministries of the Interior and Defence, and were committed with impunity. Methods included suspension by the limbs for long periods, beatings with cables and hosepipes, the infliction of electric shocks, breaking of limbs, partial asphyxiation with plastic bags, and sexual abuse including threats of rape. Torture was used to extract information from detainees and “confessions” that could be used as evidence against them at trial.

  • Nabhan ‘Adel Hamid, Mu'ad Muhammad ‘Abed, ‘Amer Ahmad Kassar and Shakir Mahmoud ‘Anad were arrested in Ramadi and Fallujah at the end of March/early April. They were reported to have been tortured while held incommunicado for several weeks at the Directorate of Counter-Crime in Ramadi. Their “confessions” were then broadcast on local television. When brought to trial, they told the Anbar Criminal Court that they had been forced under torture to “confess” to assisting in murder. Witness testimony of fellow detainees supported their torture allegations. A medical examination of one defendant recorded burns and injuries consistent with torture. Despite this, all four men were sentenced to death on 3 December. No independent investigation into their torture allegations was known to have been held.

Deaths in custody

Several detainees died in custody in circumstances suggesting that torture or other ill-treatment caused or contributed to their deaths.