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 Contractor's alleged torture link

اذهب الى الأسفل 
كاتب الموضوعرسالة
Dr.Hannani Maya
المشرف العام
المشرف العام

الدولة : العراق
الجنس : ذكر
عدد المساهمات : 42355
مزاجي : أحب المنتدى
تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
الابراج : الجوزاء
التوقيت :

مُساهمةموضوع: Contractor's alleged torture link    الثلاثاء 15 مارس 2011, 02:04

Contractor's alleged torture link

The public are being urged to boycott the census in Scotland over allegations that the parent company of a UK firm contracted to gather information has been linked to the torture of prisoners at Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison.Protesters say they are willing to break the law and face a criminal record and a £1,000 fine in an attempt to force the Scottish government to cancel the £18.5m contract it awarded to CACI (UK).

The London-based company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of US contractor CACI International, which provided interrogators who worked at Abu Ghraib prison at the height of the prisoner abuse scandal. The prison became infamous in 2004 when disturbing images emerged of US soldiers abusing prisoners. The pictures included naked Iraqi detainees cowering from dogs, and US soldiers were later found to have perpetrated widespread torture.

Civilian staff working for private US security companies specialising in interrogation techniques were alleged to have been involved in some of the human rights abuses.In August 2003, CACI International provided staff to the US army to conduct IT and intelligence work in Iraq, including interrogation services. The company denies allegations that any of its staff were involved in assaults and has defended itself in US courts against lawsuits brought by a number of former prisoners.

In Scotland, the campaign against CACI is being led by a civil liberties organisation called Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC).Richard Haley, the chairman of SACC, said the Scottish government should cancel the contract with CACI and hire another firm. "Of course, postponing the census would be disruptive," he said. "But anything would be better than continuing with the unethical arrangements that the Scottish government seems to believe it is stuck with.

"It's a matter of record that staff employed by CACI International interrogated people detained without charge at Abu Ghraib. They did so under US rules of engagement that permitted sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation and intimidation by dogs. SACC believes detention and interrogation in these circumstances violate international human rights norms. If the Scottish government won't cancel the contract, I hope that people in Scotland will use census day to say 'no' to this dirty business."

Householders are legally obliged to complete and return census forms and could face fines of up to £1,000 if they refuse, but SACC said the risk of prosecution is "slight". Haley said that people angered at CACI's involvement could also choose to supply inaccurate information and that SACC is asking researchers to boycott data obtained in the survey.

Some 6,000 temporary staff are being recruited to carry out the population survey in Scotland on 27 March. Questionnaires will be delivered to 2.5 million households.CACI's contract is to run the census for the General Register Office of Scotland (GROS) and process the population's responses. The company said it took the Abu Ghraib allegations extremely seriously and that it did not condone illegal behaviour by any of its employees.

A statement said: "In spring 2004, an allegation was made that a CACI employee had been involved in the mistreatment of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This allegation was not substantiated by any evidence or proof at the time it was made and subsequent investigations by both CACI and the US government could not confirm it.

"No CACI employee was ever depicted in the shocking and disturbing photos seen in the press at the time. Seven years on, the allegation remains totally unfounded and unproven. No CACI employee has ever been charged with any wrongdoing. If an employee of CACI had been found to be involved in such behaviour, we would have taken swift and appropriate action. We have, and always will, hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards."

In the US, four Iraqis brought a federal lawsuit against CACI International asserting that its staff participated in torture at Abu Ghraib. Suhail Najim Abdullah al Shimari, Taha Yaseen Arraq Rashid, Sa'ad Hamza Hantoosh Al-Zuba'e and Salah Hasan Nusaif Jasim al-Ejaili were all detained in the prison after the 2003 US-led invasion.

They allege they were subjected to electric shocks, sexual assault, brutal beatings and mock executions. Rashid claims he was forcibly subjected to sexual acts by a female as he was cuffed and shackled to cell bars. He also alleges that he was forced to witness the rape of a female prisoner and had a taser gun fired at his head.

So far, the legal actions concern whether CACI has civil immunity. In 2009 the US court of appeals ruled that it fell under the US military chain of command and thus had government contractor immunity. The supreme court is considering the case. There has been no ruling on the actions of the CACI employees.

Billy Briggs,
The Observer

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Iraq to close abuse prison

A spokesman says Iraq's Justice Ministry will shut down a Green Zone prison where human rights watchdogs believe inmates have been abused.

Justice spokesman Haidar al-Saadi said Monday that top Iraqi officials have been investigating prisoners' living conditions over the last month.As a result, al-Saadi said the detention center known as "Camp Honor" in the Green Zone would be closed.He said the center's prisoners would be distributed among other Iraqi prisons.

In a report last month, New York-based Human Rights Watch quoted prisoners at Camp Honor who described the use of torture during interrogations and described cells "so crowded that we had to take turns standing and lying down."

Associated Press

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Iraqi Women Sidelined

Iraqi women hoped that last year’s election would cement a larger role for them in the government. But they have less political influence today than at any time since the American invasion.

No women took part in the protracted negotiations to reach a compromise government. And despite holding a quarter of the seats in Parliament, only one woman runs a ministry: women’s affairs, a largely ceremonial department with a tiny budget and few employees.In the previous government from 2006 to 2010, four women led ministries, and in the government from 2005 to 2006, six did, including the influential ones governing public works, refugees and communications.

“I consider it a disaster,” said Ashwaq Abbas, a female member of Parliament from the Kurdish Alliance bloc. “Democracy should also include women, and the rights of women should be developed as the democracy here develops. But what’s actually happened is that the rights of women have gotten worse over time.”

Shortly after Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki managed to retain his post in December, he pledged to appoint women as ministers.On the day he announced several members of his cabinet, one lawmaker declined to accept an appointment to be the minister of women’s affairs because she was outraged that so few women held such positions. In her place, Mr. Maliki appointed a man on an interim basis and eventually appointed a woman.

Women have long struggled for rights in the Arab world, but Iraq’s Constitution requires that a quarter of the members of Parliament be women. (Roughly 17 percent of the members of the United States Congress are women.)Whether the quota has actually advanced the causes of women or served as window dressing remains unclear six years after Iraq ratified its Constitution. But the inability of Iraqi women to increase their influence in Parliament has underscored wider fears that women could lose standing in other facets of life, too, amid an overall drift toward more religious conservatism.

The biggest barriers for women in Parliament here are the leaders of the four blocs that eventually backed Mr. Maliki as prime minister. Each is made up of several political parties that have leaders who negotiated ministry positions as part of their agreements to join the governing coalition.“We ended up with a power-sharing government that has all these party leaders rushing in to get their share of the pie, and the leaders are nearly all men,” said Reidar Visser, a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and the author of “A Responsible End? The United States and the Iraqi Transition, 2005-2010.”

“As part of the agreements to form the government, party leaders tend to want ministries in exchange for joining the coalition, and there are so many parties in the coalition and only so many posts,” he said.Women have also struggled in Parliament because few have their own power bases. Only 5 of the 86 female lawmakers actually got enough votes to win seats without the quota. The remaining 81 were put there by party leaders because of the Constitution’s mandate.

“Many of those women who were chosen as part of the political parties were chosen because they were relatives of members of the party,” said Safia Taleb al-Souhail, a member of Parliament who is part of the State of Law bloc, which Mr. Maliki leads.“The parties didn’t really think to have women inside the party itself, and just chose many of the women, like, two weeks before the election,” Ms. Souhail said. “This is what I meant exactly: there are not a lot of serious politicians.”

She said that men from her own bloc often excluded her and other women from closed meetings to discuss strategy.Iraq was once at the forefront of women’s rights. In the 1950s, it became the first Arab country to have a female minister and to have a law that gave women the ability to ask for divorces.But under Saddam Hussein, women had no role in the government, and the resistance movements were dominated by men. After he was ousted in 2003, women successfully lobbied the American administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, to set up the constitutional requirement that a quarter of Parliament’s members be women.

There are demographic pressures in play, too. Today, women are believed to make up a disproportionate percentage of the Iraqi population, at least in part because so many men have died in wars in the past three decades. Iraq has not conducted a census since 1997, but the country’s electoral commission estimates that women cast 55 percent to 62 percent of the votes in the election last March.

“There are widows and women from divorce who are unable to support themselves, and there is a need for new laws to protect them, and they have not been addressed,” said Nahida al-Daeni, a woman in the Iraqiya bloc. “It will be difficult for men to deal with this because women know best what women suffer from.”Several women, including Ms. Souhail, would like to extend the 25 percent quota to the ministries’ leadership, but analysts agree the chances of that are almost nil.

Female politicians are divided, as well, with some who are more Westernized and others who are more rooted in Islamic traditions. In fact, several women in Parliament said that they were content just being part of the government, and that the women wanting ministerial positions were just complaining to gain attention.

“The Iraqi women need to be more qualified so they can’t just impose themselves on a position,” said Emman Galal, a member of Parliament who wears the black abaya and represents the Sadrist faction, a Shiite political group loyal to the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr.Adelah Homod, a lawmaker from the State of Law bloc who wears a head covering, said that women in Parliament should not complain about their lack of power because few of them had the necessary experience to be part of the government.

Ms. Souhail rejected that notion, saying she and many other women had played significant roles in lobbying the American government during its occupation of Iraq.“We have to start somewhere as a society, and it’s unfortunate that we are starting here,” Ms. Souhail said. “We have much more to go.”

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