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 Iraq bans Saddam visits

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مُساهمةموضوع: Iraq bans Saddam visits    الأربعاء 25 يناير 2012, 12:49 am

Iraq bans Saddam visits



The Iraqi government has banned visits to the grave of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in Salahudin province, who was executed in 2006 after a local court sentenced him to death for crime against humanity.


Saddam Hussein was ousted as the president following a US-led invasion in 2003. The Iraqi government prevented visits to the tombs either from the individuals or governmental establishments for two years."The Iraqi cabinet directed authorities of Salahudin province to take all necessary measures to prevent any visit to Saddam Hussein’s grave," Xinhua quoted a source from the provincial operations.


Sheikh Falah al-Nada, Head of one of ex-president Saddam Hussein’s tribe confirmed that the graveyard that contains Hussein’s body, sons and some of his assistants was closed before ten days by police force.


He added that this move was done after news that Hussein’s daughter, Raghad, has the intention to visit the graveyard, in addition to news that a Jordanian engineering company will renovate the tomb and expand the graveyard. "This news is unbelievable", he confirmed. Police sources in the province reported that the closure was made upon orders from the central government in Baghdad.


Since Hussein supporters and schoolchildren used to make visits there on the late dictator’s birthday and hanging date, the Iraqi government in mid-2009 had banned organised group visits to Saddam’s grave. However, visits by individuals from different provinces, including Shiite ones, had continued after the first ban.


The graveyard in Saddam’s hometown of al-Ouja, 5 km south of Tikrit, contains the bodies of Saddam Hussein, his two sons, his grandson, his brother Barzan, his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majeed, Baath Party member Taha yassin Ramadhan and ex-Revolution Court Chairman Awad al-Bandar.The provincial authorities sent a police force early in the morning to seal off the building that contains the grave and prevented anyone from visiting it.


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Labels: Iraqi Government, Saddam Hussein





Iraq: Intensifying Crackdown



Iraq cracked down harshly during 2011 on freedom of expression and assembly by intimidating, beating, and detaining activists, demonstrators, and journalists, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2012.


In February, Human Rights Watch uncovered a secret detention facility controlled by elite security forces who report to the military office of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. The same elite divisions controlled Camp Honor, a separate facility in Baghdad where detainees were tortured with impunity.


“Iraq is quickly slipping back into authoritarianism as its security forces abuse protesters, harass journalists, and torture detainees,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Despite U.S. government assurances that it helped create a stable democracy, the reality is that it left behind a budding police state.”


In its 676-page World Report 2012, Human Rights Watch assessed progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries, including popular uprisings in the Arab world that few would have imagined. Given the violent forces resisting the “Arab Spring,” the international community has an important role to play in assisting the birth of rights-respecting democracies in the region, Human Rights Watch said in the report.


In the weeks before the last convoy of US troops left Iraq on December 18, Iraqi security forces rounded up hundreds of Iraqis accused of being former Baath Party members, most of whom remain in detention without charge. Apolitical crisis and a series of terrorist attacks targeting civilians have rocked the country in the weeks since the US troop pullout.


During nationwide demonstrations to protest widespread corruption and demand greater civil and political rights in February, security forces violently dispersed protesters, killing at least 12 on February 25, and injuring more than 100. Baghdad security forces beat unarmed journalists and protesters that day, smashing cameras and confiscating memory cards.


In June, in one of the worst incidents, government-backed thugs armed with wooden planks, knives, and iron pipes, beat and stabbed peaceful protesters and sexually molested female demonstrators as security forces stood by and watched, sometimes laughing at the victims.


In May, the Council of Ministers approved a Law on the Freedom of Expression of Opinion, Assembly, and Peaceful Demonstration, which authorizes officials to restrict freedom of assembly to protect “the public interest” and in the interest of “general order or public morals.” The law still awaits parliamentary approval.


Freedom of expression fared little better as security forces routinely abused journalists covering demonstrations, using threats, arbitrary arrests, beatings, and harassment, and confiscating or destroying their equipment. On September 8, an unknown assailant shot to death Hadi al-Mahdi, a popular radio journalist often critical of government corruption and social inequality, at his home in Baghdad.


Immediately before his death, al-Mahdi had received several phone and text message threats not to return to Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, which was the focal point for the weekly demonstrations. Earlier, after attending the February 25 “Day of Anger” mass demonstration, security forces arrested, blindfolded, and severely beat him and three other journalists during a subsequent interrogation.


In January 2012, Human Rights Watch observed that Iraqi authorities had successfully curtailed the Tahrir Square anti-government demonstrations by flooding the weekly protests with pro-government supporters and undercover security agents. Dissenting activists and independent journalists for the most part said that they no longer felt safe attending the demonstrations.


“After more than six years of democratic rule, Iraqis who publicly express their views still do so at great peril,” Whitson said. “Al-Mahdi’s killing highlights what a deadly profession journalism remains in Iraq.”


Prison brutality, including torture in detention facilities, was a major problem throughout the year. In February, Human Rights Watch uncovered, within the Camp Justice military base in Baghdad, a secret detention facility controlled by elite security forces who report to al-Maliki’s military office. Beginning in late 2010, Iraqi authorities transferred more than 280 detainees to the facility, which was controlled by the Army’s 56th Brigade and the Counter-Terrorism Service.


The same elite divisions controlled Camp Honor, a separate facility in Baghdad where detainees were tortured with impunity. More than a dozen former Camp Honor detainees told Human Rights Watch that detainees were held incommunicado and in inhumane conditions, many for months at a time. Detainees said interrogators beat them; hung them upside down for hours at a time; administered electric shocks to various body parts, including the genitals; and repeatedly put plastic bags over their heads until they passed out from asphyxiation.


“Security forces in Iraq, particularly in detention facilities, violate rights with impunity, and the government too often looks the other way,” Whitson said. “The government needs to ensure that there will be genuine criminal investigations and prosecutions of anyone responsible for torture or other abuses.”


by IEWY News


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Labels: Iraq, Iraq Media, Nouri Maliki, The BBC





Baghdad hit by deadly bombings



A wave of car bombings hit the Iraq capital on Tuesday, killing 14 people and wounding more than 70 as violence surges in the country amid an escalating political crisis a month after the U.S. military withdrawal.


At least 170 people have died in attacks since the beginning of the year, many of them Shiite pilgrims attending religious commemorations. The last American soldiers left the country Dec. 18.Suspected Sunni insurgents have frequently targeted Shiite communities and Iraqi security forces to undermine public confidence in the Shiite-dominated government and its efforts to protect people.


Tuesday's first attack targeted an early morning gathering of day laborers in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood. Police said eight were killed and another 21 wounded. Minutes later, an explosives-packed car blew up near a pastry shop in the same district, killing three people and wounding 26, police said.


Later in the morning, two more explosives-laden cars detonated, killing three and wounding 29 people.A parked car bomb exploded near a high school at 10:30 a.m. in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Shula in northern Baghdad, killing two students and wounding 16 others, most of them also students, according to local police.


In the neighboring district of Hurriya, one person was killed when an explosives-packed car, parked along a busy commercial street detonated five minutes after the Shula blast, police officials said. Thirteen people were injured in that bombing.


Hospital officials in Baghdad confirmed the death toll. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.While insurgents have carried out a number of deadly attacks in recent years, there is little indication so far that the country is slipping back toward the widespread sectarian bloodshed of 2006 and 2007.


Nonetheless, these recent attacks are seen as particularly dangerous because they coincide with both the departure of U.S. troops, as well as a political crisis pitting Shiite officials against the largest Sunni-backed bloc.


The political battle erupted last month after the Shiite-led government issued an arrest warrant against the Sunni vice president, Tareq al-Hashemi, on terrorism charges, sending him into virtual exile in the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. In protest, al-Hashemi's Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc has been boycotting parliament and Cabinet sessions, bringing government work to a standstill.


Sunnis fear that without the American presence as a last-resort guarantor of a sectarian balance, the Shiite government will try to pick off their leaders one by one, as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tries to cement his own grip on power.


Last week, the leader of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, Ayad Allawi, accused al-Maliki of unfairly targeting Sunni officials and deliberately triggering a political crisis that is tearing Iraq apart. Allawi, who is a Shiite, said Iraq needs a new prime minister or new elections to prevent the country from disintegrating along sectarian lines.


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Iraq bans Saddam visits
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