BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq has detained or imprisoned at least 19,000 people accused of connections to the Islamic State group or other terror-related offenses, and sentenced more than 3,000 of them to death, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
The mass incarceration and speed of guilty verdicts raise concerns over potential miscarriages of justice — and worries that jailed militants are recruiting within the general prison population to build new extremist networks.
The AP count is based partially on an analysis of a spreadsheet listing all 27,849 people imprisoned in Iraq as of late January, provided by an official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Thousands more also are believed to be held in detention by other bodies, including the Federal Police, military intelligence and Kurdish forces. Those exact figures could not be immediately obtained.
The bodies of 39 Indian construction workers kidnapped in Iraq in 2014 by Isil have been found in a mass grave, India’s foreign minister said Tuesday.
Sushma Swaraj told the upper house of parliament the workers had been murdered by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
Their bodies had been found in the grave in the village of Badush northwest of the city of Mosul and taken to a local organisation for DNA testing.
Shiite Iraqi scholar Jawad Al-Khoei, co-founder of the Iraqi Council for Interfaith Dialogue, said that ISIS is deeply rooted in Islam and that “when [violence] dons the cloak of religion, it is a hundred times more evil.” He said that whether violence will remain in the region “depends on our determination, our resolve, and the will of our rulers.” Talking about the need to include Christianity and the Yazidi faith in the religious curricula in Iraq, Al-Khoei said that the Christians were “the owners of this land, and the Muslims came here as their guests.” The interview aired on BBC Arabic on March 5.
A brave Yazidi woman has told the shocking story of her captivity as a sex slave and her escape from ISIS jihadists.
Farida Abbas Khalaf, 22, was captured by Islamic State soldiers and abused for four months as a sex slave.
The Iraqi student was captured in 2014 when jihadists destroyed her village and killed all of the men, including her father and older brother.
All women and children were captured and brought to the ISIS Caliphate.
Farida says they were abused and she was forced to watch an eight-year-old girl being raped by a soldier in front of her.
Iraqi forces have displaced, beaten and imprisoned members of at least 235 families of suspected Isil fighters, Human Rights Watch said on Sunday.
The rights watchdog accused the Popular Mobilisation Front (PMF), a group of government-linked Shiite militias that answer to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, of “waging collective punishment on civilians”.
Human Rights Watch said it conducted interviews with at least 235 families as well as officials, managers of camps for displaced people, and international organisations.
Gee, this just ruined my whole day.
Every day, early in the morning, the former missile scientist would leave his house in Mosul. Riding buses, or on foot – he could no longer afford petrol – he’d call on friends, check on his mother or visit his sister’s family. Sometimes he’d hunt for cheap kerosene, or try to score contraband books or cigarettes. Most often, he’d meander aimlessly – a traveller in his own city.
In the evening, he’d sit at his old wooden desk, bent over his notebook, recording the day. Most of what he wrote was banal: the price of tomatoes, a quarrel with his wife. But he also wrote his observations of the remarkable events unfolding in Mosul.
“I must live this moment and record it,” reads one entry, from August 2014, two months after the fall of the city. “We live like prisoners serving long jail sentences. Some of us will come out having finished reading dozens of books. Others will be devastated and destroyed.”
Last October, after weeks of bitter fighting, some 1,400 “Islamic State” (IS) fighters turned themselves in, expediting Hawija’s liberation. In a series of operations, the Iraqi army swept through the region to clear any remaining pockets of IS fighters. However, in its effort to speed up the process, it hasn’t been as efficient as was hoped. The eastern part of Hawija remains unsafe and has attracted sleeper cells who are still active there, emerging at night to take food from civilians.
Americans and Russians have converged on the Euphrates valley where the ISIS “caliphate” is making a last stand. They “think” Baghdadi’s alive there. But he could be long gone.
Islamic State’s White Beard executioner has been captured by Iraqi forces in Mosul after locals ratted him out.
The killer, identified as Abu Omer, was one of the terror group’s fearsome henchmen and was renowned for stoning people to death.
His arrest was confirmed on Friday by civilians who told the authorities where they believed the ISIS enforcer was hiding out.
An Iraqi Catholic archbishop says that Christians in Iraq “are afraid of another wave of persecution that will be the end of Christians,” despite news of the “defeat” of the Islamic State.
“The daily practice of robberies, gang rapes, torture and murder of Christians is ongoing,” said Basra Archbishop Habib Al Nawfali in a recent interview with Catholic News service. “Therefore, they are pondering what will be next.”
Christians celebrated Christmas in Iraq’s second city of Mosul for the first time in four years today – and hymns and cries of joy flooded the church.
The seasonal event marked the end of jihadist rule in the city and the Mass opened with the Iraqi national anthem as women wailed with emotion.
Despite the modest interior of the church and the armoured police outside, wheelchair-bound Hossam Abud, 48, who returned this month from exile in Iraqi Kurdistan, said: ‘This is a sign that life is returning to Mosul.’
The Liberal government had extended Canada’s mission in Iraq until at least March 2019. Other nations involved in the anti-ISIL coalition, such as Australia — which has committed forces until mid-2018 — are discussing their future plans with allies and with the Iraqi government.
Iraq has announced that its war against so-called Islamic State is over.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told a conference in Baghdad that Iraqi troops were now in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border.
The border zone contained the last few areas IS held, following its loss of the town of Rawa in November.
The Iraqi announcement comes two days after the Russian military declared it had accomplished its mission of defeating IS in neighbouring Syria.
He would wander the streets of occupied Mosul by day, chatting with shopkeepers and Islamic State fighters, visiting friends who worked at the hospital, swapping scraps of information. He grew out his hair and his beard and wore the shortened trousers required by the extremists. He forced himself to witness the beheadings and stonings, so he could hear killers call out the names of the condemned and their supposed crimes.
By night, anonymously from his darkened room, Mosul Eye told the world what was happening. If caught, he too would be killed.
Islamist parties in the Iraqi parliament are pushing an amendment to the personal status law that would allow men to marry girls as young as 9. Human rights activists decried the proposal, which would transfer civil matters to the jurisdiction of clerics.