Ten years after the US-led invasion that toppled the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein, Iraq remains enmeshed in a grim cycle of human rights abuses, including attacks on civilians, torture of detainees and unfair trials, said Amnesty International in a new report out today.
A decade of abuses exposes a chronology of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees committed by Iraqi security forces and by foreign troops in the wake of the 2003 invasion.
It highlights the Iraqi authorities’ continuing failure to observe their obligations to uphold human rights and respect the rule of law in the face of persistent deadly attacks by armed groups, who show callous disregard for civilian life.
“Ten years after the end of Saddam Hussein’s repressive rule, many Iraqis today enjoy greater freedoms than they did under his Ba’athist regime, but the fundamental human rights gains that should have been achieved during the past decade have signally failed to materialize,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.
“Neither the Iraqi government nor the former occupying powers have adhered to the standards required of them under international law and the people of Iraq are still paying a heavy price for their failure.”
Torture is rife and committed with impunity by government security forces, particularly against detainees arrested under anti-terrorism while they are held incommunicado for interrogation.
Detainees have alleged that they were tortured to force them to “confess” to serious crimes or to incriminate others while held in these conditions. Many have repudiated their confessions at trial only to see the courts admit them as evidence of their guilt, without investigating their torture allegations, sentencing them to long term imprisonment or death.