[Stop-traffic] News/Iraq (3 Reports): World News: Britain accuses Iraq of human right abuses

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Iraq (3 Reports): World News: Britain accuses Iraq of human right abuses
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Nov 06 2000 - 20:26:42 EST


                                              Irish Times
                        Copyright (C) 2000 Irish Times; Source: World
Reporter (TM)

                                       Saturday, November 4, 2000

                          World news: Britain accuses Iraq of human right abuses
                                                 (AFP)

   The Iraqi government is systematically violating the human rights of
   its citizens, according to an internal report from the British Foreign
   Office published in the Guardian.

   A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that the report was drafted by
   officials and passed to the newspaper.

   The report, classified as restricted, paints a picture of
   state-sponsored brutality in Iraq, with people guilty of minor offences
   being mutilated or murdered.

   It claimed that more than 50 mental patients were executed in place of
   prisoners who had bribed their way out of the death sentence.

   In other allegations, it said eight prisoners were executed last month
   for defacing a mural of President Saddam Hussein, while a man's tongue
   was cut off for slandering the Iraqi leader.

   Thirty prostitutes were beheaded in a 'clean-up' in October and their
   severed heads were left on the doorsteps of their homes, according to
   the report.

   It added that execution or torture orders are signed by members of
   President Saddam's family, including his sons and half-brothers, or by
   one of his closest advisers.

   The orders often specify how the signatory wants the victim to be
   tortured or killed, said the report.

   The Foreign Office spokesman said: 'They were Foreign Office reports
   and they were provided to the Guardian. They are reports that we have
   compiled based on a range of sources.'

   Referring to the acts detailed in the report, the spokesman added:
   'They are violations that we condemn.'

   The leak of the report to the press comes against the backdrop of a
   debate over the future of the United Nations sanctions, imposed on Iraq
   in the aftermath of the 1990 Gulf War.

   Some European countries, led by Russia, believe the sanctions have
   failed to topple the Iraqi leader and should therefore be relaxed or
   dropped altogether.

   But the British and American governments are adamant the sanctions
   should stay in place.

   'The material in the documents. . . will help Britain and the US in
   their efforts to shore up the sanctions,' said the Guardian.

   'They will argue that the world must go on trying to force such a
   monstrous regime out.'

_______________________________________________________________

                                             The Guardian
                       Copyright (C) 2000 The Guardian; Source: World
Reporter (TM)

                                        Friday, November 3, 2000

                     Murders and mutilation in Iraq revealed: New
Iraqi abuses revealed
                               EWEN MACASKILL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR

   Barbarous acts perpetrated on Iraqi political prisoners and women
   persist under Saddam Hussein's regime in spite of a decade of
   international economic sanctions engineered by the west to topple him,
   according to restricted Foreign Office documents obtained by the
   Guardian.

   These state that in the last few weeks President Saddam and members of
   his inner circle have signed orders for executions and other acts of
   brutality.

   The material in the documents is said to have come directly from
   informants in Baghdad and, indirectly, from exiles. It will help Britain
   and the US in their efforts to shore up the sanctions - imposed on Iraq
   for igniting the Gulf war by invading Kuwait in 1990, but now under
   challenge.

   They will argue that the world must go on trying to force such a
   monstrous regime out. Opponents will argue that the abuses show how
   ineffective sanctions have been in weakening the dictatorship.

   The Foreign Office papers, classified as restricted, provide details
   of the extensive prison network in Baghdad and on individual cases that
   confirm the regime's reputation as one of the cruellest in the world.

   Among many incidents, the documents say that:

   *More than 50 mental health patients were executed in place of
   prisoners with the means to bribe their way out.

   *Eight prisoners were executed in October for defacing murals of
   Saddam Hussein.

   *Thirty prostitutes were beheaded in a "clean-up" during the last
   month and their heads were left on the doorsteps of their homes.

   *A man's tongue was cut off in September under a new decree making
   slander of President Saddam an amputation crime.

   While the international debate has gone on in recent years about the
   sanctions imposed on Iraq, and the bomb ing of its capital and missile
   sites by Britain and US, the regime's abuses have tended to be
   overlooked, partly because information is so hard to get.

   One of the Foreign Office papers says that the Iraqi government is
   obsessive about cataloguing its abuses. "Each execution or torture order
   is signed by an immediate member of Saddam Hussein's family or his
   closest advisers." It adds: "The orders allow the signatory to record
   how they want the victim to be tortured or to die." The tor ture and
   execution orders are said to be held on the eighth floor of the ministry
   of interior's main building in Baghdad. "None of the normal lifts in the
   building stop at the eighth floor. This is only accessible by its own
   special lift."

   Among the signatories are President Saddam, his two sons, Uday and
   Qusay, and various relatives including the president's half-brothers. A
   former minister of the interior, Watban Ibrahim al-Hassan, is said to
   have "had every execution videoed. Copies of the videos were kept in a
   vault in Hassan's office on the second floor of the ministry".

   Among the many prisons dotted round Baghdad, the Mahjar (Sanctuary),
   near Palestine Street, holds about 600-700 political prisoners,
   according to the documents. To maintain the fear factor, and give an
   impression to the public of impartiality, the president has imprisoned
   relatives of his inner circle there to show that no one is immune.

   "These high-level prisoners were held in the cells for detainees
   rather than in the prison itself and were only there for a number of
   days," one document says. Among those held was Ziyad Aziz, son of the
   deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz. The document de scribes the layout of
   the prison in detail. "The execution area, the hadiqa (garden) is
   located near the women's [part of the] prison. The hadiqua is an open
   area with a sandbank covered by an awning" where prisoners were killed
   by machine gun. Between 1993 and 1998 about 3,000 prisoners were
   executed there, it says.

   At another Baghdad prison, Abu Gharaib, death-row inmates are said to
   have been able to buy their freedom from the governor for Dollars 5,000:
   "To meet the quota of people executed, and to avoid this scam being
   uncovered, someone would need to be executed. The prison governor
   devised a scheme whereby he would take a patient from al-Sha ma'eel
   mental hospital to be executed in place of the released prisoner." About
   50-60 people died in this way until both the governor and the director
   of the hospital were transferred in July, it is alleged.

   One of the groups carrying out the recent drive against prostitutes -
   the Fedayeen Saddam militia set up by Uday - is said to have "beheaded
   about 30 prostitutes in Baghdad, Basra and other major cities. The . . .
   heads were left on the front doorsteps of the prostitutes' homes as a
   deterrent."

   Another paper reveals that last month "the Iraqi authorities executed
   eight prisoners on charges of forming an opposition organisation and
   defacing several murals depicting Saddam Hussein.

   "Muhammed al-Naji, an engineer from Baghdad province, was the first to
   be charged with leading the organisation. His body, together with those
   of three of his companions, were handed on to their families on October
   2."

   When in September the authorities began cutting off the tongue of
   anyone slandering the president or his family, an early victim is said
   to have been driven around his home suburb, New Baghdad, "with a
   loudspeaker announcing the crime and the punishment".

_________________________________________________________________

                                          Agence France-Presse
                                             Copyright 2000

                                        Sunday, November 5, 2000

                            Baghdad rejects British report on executions in Iraq

   BAGHDAD, Nov 5 (AFP) - A spokesman for the Iraqi culture and
   information ministry Sunday strongly rejected a British foreign
   office report on the execution of prostitutes and the mentally ill in
   Iraq.

   "This report, riddled with lies, clearly reveals the spitefulness
   and deep hatred of the British colonialists towards Iraq," the
   spokesman said, quoted by the INA news agency.

   "The British government and its ally, the American (state)
   department, could find nothing better to counter the crumbling of the
   embargo imposed on Iraq and the collapse of the air embargo that to
   make up a report infested with stupid accusations, to try to
   prejudice the image of Iraq," the spokesman added.

   "This report can only be interpreted as a failure of the British
   government and the American administration to handle the
   international move opposed to the continuation of the embargo and the
   aggression against Iraq."

   In a report published Friday by the British daily, the Guardian,
   the foreign office said that more than 50 mentally sick people had
   been executed in Iraq in the place of condemned prisoners who payed
   to save their lives, and that 30 prostitutes had been decapitated and
   their heads left on their doorsteps to set an example.
_____________________________________________________________________

Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

Please contact me off-list for any questions about Stop-Traffic at
<<morhant@igc.org>>.

Women's Reproductive Health Initiative
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health
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