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 Fears for detained protesters

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كاتب الموضوعرسالة
Dr.Hannani Maya
المشرف العام
المشرف العام

الدولة : العراق
الجنس : ذكر
عدد المساهمات : 41978
مزاجي : أحب المنتدى
تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
الابراج : الجوزاء
التوقيت :

مُساهمةموضوع: Fears for detained protesters    الأحد 13 مارس 2011, 00:34

Fears for detained protesters

A group of anti-government protesters missing since they were arrested this week in Baghdad are feared to be at risk of torture, after other recently released protestors told Amnesty International they were tortured in detention.

At least 10 people were detained on Monday while returning home from a Baghdad protest against unemployment, government corruption and poor social services.The arrests came as other protesters who were detained last month told Amnesty International that they were tortured in detention.

"We fear there is a real risk of torture for those arrested on Monday, especially as their whereabouts in detention is yet to be disclosed. This seems to be following a pattern of protesters being detained and tortured as the Iraqi government tries to crackdown on demonstrations," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa."The authorities must immediately reveal where these latest detainees are held and release them if they have been detained solely for exercising their legitimate right to protest."

Those detained on Monday include Ala’ Sayhoud, Ma’an Thamer, 'Ali Abdel Zahra’ and Muhammad Kadhim Finjan. They were arrested by Iraqi security forces in Baghdad's al-Batawin area after they participated in a demonstration in the city's Tahrir Square on Monday.Two recently released activists have told Amnesty International that they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention after they were arrested in connection with recent protests.

Abdel-Jabbar Shaloub Hammadi, who was detained without charge for 12 days following his arrest on 24 February, the day before a planned 'Day of Rage' protest in Baghdad, was beaten and tortured throughout his first five days in detention.

"They beat me a lot and kept me suspended every day for nearly 15 hours. In one method they tied my hands and legs together behind by back and left me hanging by a rope; in the other they suspended me from the wrists and left me standing on the tips of my toes on a chair - both were very painful," Hammadi told Amnesty International.

Journalist Hadi al-Mehdi, who was arrested on 25 February, told Amnesty International he received electric shocks to his feet and was threatened with rape during his interrogation by police."The Iraqi authorities claim that they are stamping out torture but as these testimonies show it continues to be used against detainees and the perpetrators appear to believe they can act with impunity," said Malcolm Smart.

"The authorities must order an immediate independent investigation into all allegations of torture and those responsible for torture must be exposed and brought to justice."As calls for reform persist in the country, Amnesty International has also called on the Iraqi authorities respect the right of assembly and freedom of expression.

Amnesty International

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Protesters accuse troops of beatings

Some Iraqi protesters accused security forces Friday of detaining and beating them for taking part in demonstrations calling for better services and a corruption-free government.

The accusations are the latest amid protests that have shaken Iraqi leaders and put Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on the defensive. But unlike unrest elsewhere in the Arab world, Iraqi demonstrators taking to the streets after Friday prayers in the past weeks are not aiming to replace the regime, focusing instead on demanding better living standards.

A federal police official confirmed some protesters were detained for no more than two days but denied anyone was beaten. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

The new accusations came from protesters gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir Square — one of at least four demonstrations Friday morning in major Iraqi cities. The largest rally was in northern Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, with an estimated turnout of 4,000.

Protester Sami Majid, 23, said he was among crowds during a deadly demonstration in Baghdad on Feb. 25, which was billed as the Iraqi "Day of Rage," when he was detained by police who held him at a military base in the capital's east.

"They beat and kicked me, then forced me to sign a commitment that I would not participate in demonstrations or raise riots," Majid said. He joined about 300 other protesters at Tahrir Square who held the soles of their shoes in the air — a sign of disrespect in the Mideast — and shouted "Liar, liar, Maliki!" in an affront to the prime minister.

Restaurant worker Karar Haidar, 20, said he was held for five days and made to sign the same pledge after being detained for participating in a March 4 rally.

The government's response to Iraq's unrest, which has fallen far short of the huge crowds elsewhere in the Mideast, has been under scrutiny since 14 people were killed during the Feb. 25 demonstrations and the bodies of three more protesters turned up the day after.Al-Maliki last week called for an investigation of abuses of protesters but has also condemned demonstrators as supporters of terrorists and former dictator Saddam Hussein.

In Sulaimaniyah, riot police and other security forces did not appear to be present near Friday's gathering of about 4,000, although the main road leading to the protest at al-Saray Square was blocked off.

"Let the government know that we will keep rallying every day and we will not leave al-Saray until they respond to our demands," said Karzan Khalid, 29. "We have not seen any intention or initiative from the government to carry out reforms."

Smaller protests also were held in the southern port city of Basra and the holy Shiite city of Najaf where hundreds called for more jobs and electricity in their homes.Friday's rallies came a day after al-Maliki blamed lawmakers for failing to pass badly needed laws that would encourage development and economic growth.

The prime minister singled out important legislation like an oil law needed to streamline investment in the energy sector, a retirement law which he said would encourage older employees to retire and let young people find employment and social insurance legislation that would help poor and elderly Iraqis.

Associated Press

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Iraq Deportations Resume

The first group deportation of Iraqis for six months has seen a number of asylum seekers returned to a country convulsed by civil rights protests and violence.The decision to resume charter flights was in defiance of warnings by the United Nations high commissioner for refugees that it is unsafe to remove people to Baghdad and central Iraq.

The plane, organised by the UK Borders Agency in conjunction with the Swedish government and the EU border agency Frontex, left Stansted airport at 7am on Wednesday. Last-minute appeals on behalf of other failed asylum seekers prevented several others from being forcibly repatriated. It is not known how many deportees from Sweden were on board.

Charter flight removals to Baghdad were temporarily suspended last October after the European court of human rights ruled that a surge in sectarian violence and suicide bombings made Baghdad and the surrounding area too dangerous.

The Home Office has since pledged to "continue to undertake" deportations but acknowledged that, in cases where the Strasbourg court supported petitions from individuals demonstrating that they were at risk, it would not enforce removal.Refugee organisations said that as many as 17 people had been deported, but the Home Office maintained that only eight had gone.

Protesters in Baghdad and northern Iraq are staging "Arab spring"-style protests against corruption, poor services and lack of employment. As many as 30 demonstrators have been killed in the capital and the Kurdish city of Suleimaniya since mid-February as authorities have suppressed dissent.

The UNHCR has criticised European states, including the UK, that have sent Iraqis back to the five central governorates, or provinces, including Baghdad. "We are very concerned about reports that the Home Office has returned Iraqis to Baghdad," a spokeswoman for the UNHCR said. "The situation for minorities [such as Christians] in Iraq is very precarious. There has been a deterioration in security."

The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, which monitors removals, said the resumption of charter flights had been done at a time when attention was focused on Libya.

"The UK government, while it is saying how much it supports democracy and human rights in Libya, continues to support the corrupt governments in Iraq and Kurdistan," said a spokesman. "Now it is deporting people, many of whom left to flee this same government violence, into the middle of it. It is a criminal hypocrisy and must be stopped."

A Home Office spokesman said: "The UK courts have confirmed that we are able to return people to all of Iraq and that the return of Kurdish Iraqis via Baghdad does not expose them to serious harm. The UK Border Agency would prefer that those with no legal basis to remain in the UK leave voluntarily. Where they do not, we will seek to enforce their removal."

By Owen Bowcott,

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