Human Rights Watch accuses Kurdish security officers of torturing teenage boys detained for suspected Islamic State connections

January 9, 2019 at 8:13 am

Erbil- The Erbil Reformatory for Women and Children where tens of children are said to be detained for ISIS connections Photo: Human Rights Watch

KirkukNow

The Human Rights Watch in a report published on Tuesday, January 8th, accused Kurdish security forces known as (Asayish) have tortured teenage boys held in Kurdistan Region prisons for alleged links to the Islamic State group (ISIS).

The report said, “The Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq is torturing children to confess to involvement with the Islamic State ”.

According to report, “Human Rights Watch interviewed 20 boys, ages 14 to 17, charged or convicted of ISIS affiliation, at the Women and Children’s Reformatory in Erbil in November 2018, and three boys who had recently been released.”

“At the time of the visit, reformatory staff reported that 63 children were being held at the facility for alleged terrorism-related offenses, including 43 who had been convicted. Human Rights Watch also interviewed staff, relatives of some of the children, and two 18-year-olds who had also been arrested and detained”, the report added.

Three boys said that the officers used electric shocks. Others described being tied into a painful stress position

Human Rights Watch indicated that, “Sixteen of the 23 children said that one or more Asayish officers had tortured them during interrogation at Asayish facilities, beating them all over their bodies with plastic pipes, electric cables, or rods. Three boys said that the officers used electric shocks. Others described being tied into a painful stress position called the “scorpion” for up to two hours. Several boys said the torture continued over consecutive days, and only ended when they confessed.”

Meanwhile it said “Four other boys said Asayish threatened them with torture during interrogation”, noting that “All but one of the boys interviewed said they eventually confessed. Most said they had no choice to stop the torture, and many said they had lied.”

None of the boys said that they were allowed to read the confession Asayish wrote for them

The Human Rights Watch report also said, “None of the boys said that they were allowed to read the confession Asayish wrote for them and forced them to sign. Most only learned what it said when it was read out in court.”

The international organization emphasized in its report that “International human rights and humanitarian law prohibit torture and other ill-treatment. Children should only be detained as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period”, and stressed that Kurdish regional authorities “should not arrest any child without credible evidence of criminal activity and should establish rehabilitation and reintegration programs for children who may have been involved with ISIS.”

Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch called on the KRG authorities to “take immediate action to end all use of torture and coerced confessions, and to investigate and appropriately prosecute those responsible.”

 “Many of these children have already been scarred by conflict and ISIS abuses. Instead of achieving justice, torture and coerced confessions only compound their suffering and contribute to further grievances”, he said.

HRW had never visited the Erbil Reformatory Center to interview the detainees

In response to the Human Rights watch report, Dindar Zebari, the KRG’s coordinator for international advocacy denied that the organization “had never visited the Erbil Reformatory Center to interview the detainees”, describing their statistics as “incorrect”.

He reaffirmed that “No one is arrested without a court order”, adding that “the KRG rejects the use of torture.”

66 views

Photo Gallery

Print This Post Print This Post