Annual Report: Iraq 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Iraq 2013

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  • ‘Abid Hamid Mahmoud, formerly Saddam Hussein's presidential secretary and bodyguard, was executed in June. He was sentenced to death in October 2010 by the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

The process of gradually relocating some 3,200 Iranian political exiles from Camp New Iraq (formerly “Camp Ashraf”) to Hurriya Transit Center (“Camp Liberty”), north-east of Baghdad, began in February and was nearly completed at the end of the year. They were long-term residents of Iraq and most were members or supporters of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran. They accused Iraqi security forces of attacking some of them while they were being relocated and criticized living conditions at Camp Liberty. In July, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, publicly urged the international community to offer resettlement places or other forms of humanitarian admission to the residents of Camp Liberty.

The worsening conflict in neighbouring Syria impacted heavily on Iraq. Over 67,000 refugees from Syria crossed into Iraq, mostly after 18 July, and mostly entering the Kurdistan Region. Thousands of Iraqi refugees returned from Syria. In October, the Iraqi authorities violated international law by closing al-Qaem border crossing to refugees fleeing Syria, except in emergency cases. Following an earlier closure in August, restricted access had been allowed.

Kurdistan region of Iraq

Tension between the KRG and the central government in Baghdad remained high. In June, Kurdistan's parliament adopted a general amnesty law applicable to the Kurdistan region. The amnesty law excluded prisoners convicted of “honour” killings, rape, terrorism and drug trafficking crimes.

The KRG authorities continued to target some who spoke out against official corruption or expressed dissent. Incidents of torture or other ill-treatment continued to be reported.

  • Hussein Hama Ali Tawfiq, a businessman, was arrested on 27 March. He was taken to General Security (Asayish) in Suleimaniya where he was reportedly blindfolded, punched and beaten with an object while his hands were cuffed diagonally across his back. He was told to testify against others in a corruption case but refused. He was then charged with bribery and remained in detention until his acquittal in November. No investigations into his torture allegations were known to have been conducted.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Iraq in September.
  • Iraqi women held without charge (MDE 14/003/2012)
  • Iraqi men detained incommunicado (MDE 14/005/2012)
  • Iraq: Amnesty International condemns killings of civilians and calls for investigation (MDE 14/009/2012)
  • Iraq must halt executions (MDE 14/011/2012)