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Repost: Amnesty International : Iraq: Stop the torture

Posted by andreas on September 04, 2001 at 06:19:00:


AI Report on Iraqi Torture deleted from

The following report of Amnesty International on torture by the Saddam regime was also deleted by Parhad.


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Amnesty International : Iraq: Stop the torture

Posted by andreas on August 18, 2001 at 04:09:04:
Iraq: Stop the torture

17/08/2001 Amnesty International

Amnesty International called on the Iraqi authorities to put an end to the systematic torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners and to introduce legislative and practical steps to improve the human rights situation in the country.

In a report published today -- Iraq: Systematic torture of political prisoners -- the organization paints a grim picture of routine torture, whereby horrendous physical and psychological suffering is inflicted upon political prisoners and detainees.

"Victims of torture in Iraq are subjected to a wide range of forms of torture, including the gouging out of eyes, severe beatings and electric shocks," said Amnesty International, based on interviews with hundreds of torture victims in Iraq over the years. "Some victims have died as a result and many have been left with permanent physical and psychological damage."

Other methods of torture include 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 executions.

Over the years many victims of torture have been Shia Muslims from Baghdad or from Southern Iraq. The fate of al-Shaikh Nazzar Kadhim al-Bahadli, a 29-year-old theology student from Saddam City, a district of Baghdad, is typical. He was arrested in 1999 and was tortured for long periods in the building of Saddam City Security Directorate. His wife, father and mother were reportedly brought to the building in August 1999 and were tortured in front of him to force him to confess to being one of those responsible for the April 1999 disturbances in Saddam City. He was said to have confessed in order to spare his relatives any further torture. They were released following his confession but he was sentenced to death later and executed at the beginning of 2001.

Torture is used against other political opponents and army and security officers suspected of dissidence or involvement in coup attempts. Amnesty International''s report also documents torture, ill-treatment and extra-judicial executions of women.

A 25-year-old woman known as "Um Haydar" was beheaded in the street without charge or trial at the end of December 2000 after her husband, who was suspected by the authorities of involvement in Islamist armed activities, fled the country. Um Haydar was taken from her house in al-Karrada district, in front of her children and mother-in-law, by men belonging to Fedaiyye Saddam. Two men held her by the arms and a third pulled her head from behind and beheaded her in front of the residents. The beheading was also witnessed by members of the ruling Ba''ath Party in the area. The security men took the body and the head in a plastic bag and took away the children and mother-in-law. Their fate remains unknown.

The report stresses that torture in Iraq is also practised through various judicial punishments, which were introduced in the mid-1990s ostensibly to stem the increase in the crime rate that the Government attributed to the impact of economic sanctions imposed on the country since 1990. These ''judicial punishments,'' including amputation of hand and foot, branding of forehead and cutting off of the ears, used to be publicized by the Iraqi media. Such publicity became rarer since the end of 1996, following international condemnation of these punishments.

Amnesty International''s recommendations to the Iraqi authorities include renewed calls to ratify and implement fully in domestic law and practice the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; repeal all decrees imposing punishments amounting to torture; set up an independent body to undertake impartial investigations into all allegations of torture and bring to justice anyone responsible for serious violations; and put an end to all extra-judicial executions.

"The systematic torture and climate of fear that have prevailed in Iraq for so many years must be brought to an end," Amnesty International said. "The continuing scale and severity of human suffering must not be allowed to continue."


by Philip Smucker
National Post, Toronto, 17th August

BAGHDAD (Reuter's): At Saddam Hussein's new Mother of All Battles Mosque,
the towers resemble missiles and the holy book is written in blood -- Saddam
Hussein's blood, his spokesmen boast.

A 605-page Qur'an has been penned, they say, using 28 litres of the ruler's
own blood. The holy book, whose swirling, deep-red text was handwritten by
Sheikh Abbas Al-Baghdadi, is housed in a marble rotunda and displayed page
by page behind polished glass in the Umm El-Mahare (Mother of all Battles)
Mosque outside Baghdad.

The holy site bears the imprimatur of a man keen to preserve his legacy in
blood and stone. But, how did Saddam Hussein contribute so much blood?

"Over three years, the President gave us a total of 28 litres of his own
blood which has been mixed with special chemicals to produce this
handwritten Qur'an of 605 pages," said Dahar Al-Ani, information director
for the mosque, named after Saddam Hussein's description of the Gulf War.

Short of a DNA test, the assertion remains about as believable as the Iraqi
strongman's claim he won the war. Still, his signature is there to back it
up: "Giving my own blood for this Qur'an, is the least I can do," he writes
in the preface.

The mosque is guarded by immense minarets, built to look like ballistic
missiles. The four largest Scud-like towers shoot up into the skies
alongside their own launch platforms. Closer to the central dome, four more
minarets bear an uncanny resemblance to the barrels of machine guns.

The exterior minarets are 37 metres high; the four on the inside, 28 metres
high. Taken together, the numbers 37-4-28 give the date of birth of the
Iraqi leader.

A guided tour of the mosque reveals pristine marble walls and gold-plated
chandeliers, which contrast sharply with the squalor of inner-city Baghdad.

Along the mosque's western wall is a massive water and stone relief map of
the Arab world. Iraq is highlighted by a granite rock carved with faces of
martyrs who gave their lives in the "Mother of all Battles." Children,
mostly boys, jump up and down on Jerusalem, shouting it will someday belong
to Saddam Hussein.

If there were any doubt as to the Iraqi leader's point in building the
mosque, which opened just weeks ago, the huge gold-plated dome reading "La!"
(Arabic for "No!") may be a clarification.

"No one has ever said 'no' to the United States as loud as Saddam," said Mr.
Al-Ani, a slight man living on a paltry salary and not adverse to taking a
small tip after a guided tour of the mosque.

"The building of this great mosque during Washington's embargo against us is
proof of that."

Not everyone in Iraq is impressed. Some religious leaders say in private
they are disgusted with the idea of a mosque whose minarets convey a
not-so-subtle sense of Islamic militancy.

Western diplomats based in Baghdad say the building is just another of the
dictator's outlandish pet projects even as the masses edge closer to

"Saddam has never been religious in the true sense of the word," said one
diplomat. "He presents a classic case of a leader desperately trying to use
'religion' as an opiate for the masses. He is just using his own crazy ideas
of religion to try to build up his own personality cult."

In Baghdad, yet another sprawling presidential palace is almost complete,
with four huge busts of Saddam Hussein staring out over the city's squalor.
An even larger mosque is also being built.

The diplomats say such grandiose undertakings are the latest phase of the
Iraqi government's Faith Campaign, intended to assure spiritual loyalty to
the dictatorship, but which, they insist, opposes religious freedom at all

After the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein, who is a Sunni Muslim, suppressed a
revolt led by the dominant Shiite groups in the South. Then in 1994, to
bolster his image as a good Muslim, he banned alcohol and encouraged the
building of more mosques.

Western diplomats say he has tried to co-opt Islam with a "born again"
devotion that permits him to present himself as a role model to the pious.

Large murals and bronze statues of the leader praying are as common across
Iraq as pictures of him shooting guns and patting small children on the

One of the priorities of the Faith Campaign is to fend off unrest in Shiite
religious centres.

Government officials admitted this month that armed factions supported by
Iran have been responsible for rocket attacks on the capital this summer.

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