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Iraqi Shia militias accused of murder spree

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Shia militias have abducted and murdered scores of Sunni civilians in Iraq in crimes committed in retribution against the actions of ISIL, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

The London-based rights group on Tuesday published what it said was evidence that Shia militias abducted civilians in Baghdad, Samarra and Kirkuk, and killed them even if families paid tens of thousands of dollars in ransom.

The Amnesty report, Absolute Impunity: Militia Rule in Iraq, said scores of unidentified bodies had been discovered handcuffed and with gunshot wounds, indicating a pattern of deliberate killings.

The group called on the Iraqi government, which has armed and encouraged militias including the Badr brigades and the Mehdi army, to fight ISIL, to hold them to account.

Militias operate outside any legal framework and without official oversight, and had contributed to a deterioration in security and to the increasing lawlessness in Iraq, Amnesty said.

“Shia militias are ruthlessly targeting Sunni civilians on a sectarian basis under the guise of fighting terrorism, in an apparent bid to punish Sunnis for the rise of ISIL and for its heinous crimes,” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser, said.

“By failing to hold militias accountable for war crimes and other gross human rights abuses the Iraqi authorities have effectively granted them free rein to go on the rampage against Sunnis. The new Iraqi government of prime minister Haider al-Abbadi must act now to rein in the militias and establish the rule of law.”

The Amnesty document included evidence from relatives of those who had gone missing or were killed.

It reported that one family had paid $60,000 to have a family member released, only to find his body two weeks later in a Baghdad morge, his head crushed and his hands cuffed.

Amnesty also accused Iraqi government forces of serious human rights violations, presenting what it said was evidence of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners, and deaths in custody of Sunni men held under the 2005 anti-terrorism law.

It cited one example of a 33-year-old lawyer who died in custody, his body showing open wounds and burns consistent with the application of electric shocks.

Another man was held for five months and tortured with electric shocks and threatened with rape before being released without charge.

“Successive Iraqi governments have displayed a callous disregard for fundamental human rights principles,” Rovera said.

“The new government must now change course and put in place effective mechanisms to investigate abuses by Shi’a militias and Iraqi forces and hold accountable those responsible.” Al Jazeera


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1 comment

  1. As salaam mu aleikum,

    To the VOC and especially the breakfast team, speaking on insurance, the presenters suggested that insurance be factored into your vehicle finance (repayments) so as to make insurance a little more affordable. Yesterday I listened to an advertisement on car finance that openly explained repayments etc. which I assumed were the interest rates.

    As a muslim listener listening to a muslim radio found this very disturbing as we all know in Islam that interest and the many forms thereof is impermissible/prohibited.

    It is therefore my request as a listener that the radio refrain from advertising these as it gives the sense that the radio station condones such practices. It should be noted that your slogan of” my radio station, your radio station, our radio station” means that the radio speaks on behalf of the greater muslim community and therefore should advocate sound muslim values including all prohibitions within Islam.

    I thank you and I am available to explain myself further on this issue.

    Shukran and all the best to the radio.

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