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Systematic torture of political prisoners

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Amnesty International - August 2001. Torture is used systematically against political detainees in Iraqi prisons and detention centres. The scale and severity of torture in Iraq can only result from the acceptance of its use at the highest level. There are no attempts to curtail or prevent such violations or punish those responsible. This total disregard for a basic human right, the right not to be tortured or ill-treated, grossly violates international human rights law which prohibits torture in all circumstances. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iraq ratified in 1971, states that ''No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment''(Article 7).

Amnesty International INDEX: MDE 14/008/2001 15 August 2001!Open Systematic torture of political prisoners

Extracts from an Amnesty International Report


Amnesty International has over the years received numerous reports of torture and interviewed hundreds of torture victims. The organization has also published many reports documenting a wide range of human rights violations in the country, including torture and ill-treatment. Victims of torture in Iraq have been subjected to a wide range of forms of torture. The bodies of many of those executed had evident signs of torture, including the gouging out of the eyes, marks of severe beatings and electric shocks to various parts of the body, when returned to their families. Some detainees died as a result of torture. Many torture victims now live with permanent physical or psychological damage.

Torture is used both to extract information or confessions from detainees and as a punishment. Political detainees are tortured immediately following arrest and their torture generally takes place in the headquarters of the General Security Directorate in Baghdad or in its branches in Baghdad and in the governorates. Torture also takes place in the headquarters of the General Intelligence (al-Mukhabarat al-'Amma) in al-Hakimiya in Baghdad, its branches elsewhere, as well as in police stations and detention centres such as al-Radhwaniya. Detainees in these places are held incommunicado for months or even years without access to any lawyers or family visits.



Torture victims in Iraq have been blindfolded, stripped of their clothes and suspended from their wrists for long hours. Electric shocks have been used on various parts of their bodies, including the genitals, ears, the tongue and fingers. Victims have described to Amnesty International how they have been beaten with canes, whips, hosepipe or metal rods and how they have been suspended for hours from either a rotating fan in the ceiling or from a horizontal pole often in contorted positions as electric shocks were applied repeatedly on their bodies. Some victims had been forced to watch others, including their own relatives or family members, being tortured in front of them.

Other methods of physical torture described by former victims include the use of Falaqa (beating on the soles of the feet), extinguishing of cigarettes on various parts of the body, extraction of finger nails and toenails and piercing of the hands with an electric drill. Some have been sexually abused and others have had objects, including broken bottles, forced into their anus. In addition to physical torture, detainees have been threatened with rape and subjected to mock execution. They have been placed in cells where they could hear the screams of others being tortured and have been deprived of sleep. Some have stayed in solitary confinement for long periods of time. Detainees have also been threatened with bringing in a female relative, especially the wife or the mother, and raping her in front of the detainee. Some of these threats have been carried out.

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Created by keza
Last modified 2004-11-26 07:18 AM

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