Amnesty International recently released a report claiming wide-spread abuse in Iraqi prisons, 30,000 detainees and many of them without trials or even charges. Amongst them a dual UK/Iraqi citizen whose wife claims has been tortured in prison. The Iraqi government was quick to deny all the findings of this report and Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim told AFP “All of the people arrested or held in our prisons are held according to arrest warrants and accusations against them, there is no torture at all, and this international report is not true and it is baseless.”
It would be hard to believe that in any country, including the UK and US, there are no unlawfully detained people and “no torture at all”, let alone in a country like Iraq where allegations of wide-spread abuse surface every few months. Instead of taking the appropriate route of stating that the report will be studied carefully, mistakes will be rectified, and explaining that Iraq went through exceptional circumstances in the last few years that possibly increased the scope for abuse, the government, whose claims have very little credibility domestically and internationally, chose to accuse Amnesty International, an NGO which has nothing to gain from accusing of the government of prison violations, of being biased against it. What is more disturbing is that in Iraq, we have a Human Rights Ministry, whose Minister is part of the cabinet and takes her orders from the Prime Minister, when the simplest of minds would know that a Human Rights Commission should be a supervisory body separate from the executive branch. No wonder most abuses are denied by the “Ministry of Human Rights”.
On a separate note, The Iraqi government is reported to have agreed a compensation payout worth $400 mil to US victims of the 1991 Gulf War, during which Saddam Hussein held those US citizens hostage, and that is only fair since a crime had been committed against those innocent civilians during the illegal invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Now that begs the question, how much will the US pay Iraq for all the tens of thousands of innocent civilians that have been detained, all the innocent lives that have been taken by their reckless soldiers, and all the torture victims in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere during the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq? Not much it appears, as the US had a policy of making the innocent victims’ desperate families sign a release form giving up their rights to sue the US Army in return for a few thousand dollars!