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Kurds, US allies in Iraq, exposed as torturers and human rights abusers

Iraqi Kurds 'tortured prisoners'

The US-based rights group, Human Rights Watch, has issued a report detailing torture and abuses in security prisons in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq.

It found a consistent pattern of abuse involving detainees being subjected to beatings and stress positions, and allegations of electric shock torture.

The Kurds have been running their own affairs there since the early 1990s.

HRW said the authorities had responded seriously to its concerns, but that it had not yet led to better conditions.

The group pointed out that it was unusual to be able to produce a report on any part of Iraq.

Its request for access to detention facilities run by the Iraqi government and by the US-led coalition have been consistently denied.

But, its researchers were allowed free random access to all security facilities in Iraqi Kurdistan.

They were able to talk to 158 prisoners without anybody else being present.

'Denied due process'

The researchers found a consistent pattern of abuse involving subjection to beatings and prolonged periods in stress positions, and a few cases where torture with electric shocks was also alleged.

Detainees, often terrorist suspects, were routinely denied due process, including access to lawyers, the bringing of charges, and any kind of appeal.

Leaders from both the two main Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), pledged to deal with the issues raised by the report.

Human Rights Watch said a number of steps had already been taken, but that they had not yet led to any direct improvement for most of the hundreds of detainees.

The security prisons under investigation are run by security forces known as Asayish, which are attached to the two main Kurdish political parties.

They are outside the authority of the Kurdistan regional government and its interior ministry.


BBC News, "Iraqi Kurds 'tortured prisoners'", 3 July 2007.

"The Insider" mailing list article, 05 July 2007.

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Tags: Kurds, torture, Iraqi, Kurdish, human rights, abuse, prisoners, Norther, Iraq, Kurdistan, independent, state, American, allies, , conspiracy theories.

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