Skip to comments.Torture (In Iraq)
Posted on 03/01/2003 9:54:22 PM PST by Lando Lincoln
Torture is systematic in Iraq. The most senior figures in the regime are personally involved.
Saddam Hussein runs Iraq with close members of his own family and a few associates, most of whom come from his hometown of Tikrit. These are the only people he feels he can trust. He directly controls the security services and, through them and a huge party network, his influence reaches deep into Iraqi society. All real authority rests with Saddam and his immediate circle. Saddam is head of state, head of government, leader of Iraq's only political party and head of the armed forces. Saddam presides over the all-powerful Revolutionary Command Council, which enacts laws and decrees and overrides all other state institutions. Several RCC decrees give the security agencies full powers to suppress dissent with impunity. An RCC decree of 21 December 1992 guarantees immunity for Ba'ath party members who cause damage to property, bodily harm and even death when pursuing enemies of the regime.
Saddam has, through the RCC, issued a series of decrees establishing severe penalties (amputation, branding, cutting off of ears, or other forms of mutilation) for criminal offences. In mid-2000, the RCC approved amputation of the tongue as a new penalty for slander or abusive remarks about the President or his family. These punishments are practised mainly on political dissenters. Iraqi TV has broadcast pictures of these punishments as a warning to others.
According to an Amnesty International report published in August 2001, 'torture is used systematically against political detainees. The scale and severity of torture in Iraq can only result from the acceptance of its use at the highest level.' Over the years, Amnesty and other human rights organisations have received thousands of reports of torture and interviewed numerous torture victims.
Although Iraqi law forbids the practice of torture, the British Government is not aware of a single case of an Iraqi official suspected of carrying out torture being brought to justice.
A Tortured Family: a case brought to the attention of the FCO A family, arrested in late 2000, were taken to two separate interrogation centres within Republican Guard facilities located along the road to Abu Ghraib. The husband was held in one centre whilst the wife and children were held at a women's facility. The husband and wife were interrogated under torture about the husband's sale of a vehicle which, the interrogators said, had been captured by Iraqi security forces during a raid on Iraqi oppositionists.
The interrogators said separately to both husband and wife that they would cease the torture if they signed confessions admitting to be collaborating with the oppositionists. They refused. The wife was stripped naked and cigarettes stubbed out on all parts of her body whenever she refused to implicate her husband. She was beaten and thrown around the interrogation room. Her children were forced to watch the torture. She was eventually released, having been told that her husband would continue being tortured until she returned to confess. She was arrested again two weeks later and the same pattern of torture was repeated, leaving her a psychological wreck.
During his interrogation, the husband's arms were tied behind his back and he was then suspended in the air using a hook hung from the ceiling. This caused intense pain as his shoulder muscles and ligaments were torn. After a period, the interrogators entered the room and the husband was unhooked and placed in a chair in the middle of the room. From close range, he was then shot at with a pistol whenever he refused to agree to sign his confession. Sometimes shots were fired which missed his body, at other times the pistol muzzle was placed against his fingers, toes or arms and fired so as to mutilate these areas.
Over the following two weeks further interrogations occurred at intervals, following periods of food and water deprivation. Eventually the husband's and wife's wider family paid a bribe to an Iraqi Intelligence officer and both the husband and wife were released. They subsequently escaped from Iraq.
There is first-hand evidence that the Iraqi regime tortures children. In June, a BBC correspondent, John Sweeney, visiting the Kurdish safe haven of northern Iraq, reported the story of Ali, an Iraqi who used to work for Saddam's son Udayy.
Some time after the bungled assassination of Udayy, Ali fell under suspicion. He fled north, leaving his wife and two-year-old daughter behind. The secret police came for his wife. They tortured her to find out where Ali was. When she did not tell them, they tortured the daughter, half-crushing her feet. When John Sweeney met Ali and his daughter two years later, she was still hobbling. Ali feared that his daughter had been crippled for life.
Mr Sweeney also met six other witnesses in northern Iraq with direct experience of child torture, including another of Saddam's enforcers - now in a Kurdish prison - who told him that an interrogator could do anything. 'We could make a kebab out of a child if we wanted to' he told Mr Sweeney and chuckled.
Udayy Saddam Hussein Saddam's elder son. He has been frequently accused of serial rape and murder of young women.
He maintained a private torture chamber, known as "al-Ghurfa al-Hamra" (the Red Room), disguised as an electricity installation, in a building on the banks of the Tigris He personally executed dissidents in Basra during the uprising that followed the Gulf War in March 1991.
In one infamous incident of mass torture, Udayy Hussein ordered the national football team to be caned on the soles of their feet after losing a World Cup qualifying match. As a member of the National Security Council, he bears command responsibility for all crimes committed with the authority or acquiescence of that body.
(From INDICT and other sources)
Qusayy Saddam Hussein
Saddam's younger son. As head of the Iraqi internal security agencies, he has permitted and encouraged the endemic use of torture, including rape and the threat of rape, in Iraq.
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