HRW: Mass Murders of Sunni Prisoners

Amnesty International quoted a second prisoner as saying the guards removed 13 prisoners and that he then heard gunfire. A short time later, both prisoners said, a prison guard threw a hand grenade into one cell. The prisoner who spoke with Amnesty said six prisoners were killed in the grenade attack.

Two days later, Mosul residents discovered 15 decomposing bodies of men who had been shot, and in some cases handcuffed or blindfolded, near an abandoned potato warehouse in Mosul, two residents and the prisoner who spoke with Human Rights Watch said. That prisoner said he went to the site and recognized two fellow prisoners who had been among the 15 men led away by the prison guards.

In one of the following attacks, on June 16 in Tal Afar, 50 kilometers west of Mosul, three or four gunmen whom witnesses said were Shia militiamen opened fire with assault rifles and other weapons in four cells of that city’s Counterterrorism and Organized Crime prison.

Witnesses, local government officials, and local civil society activists told Human Rights Watch that the attack killed at least 51 prisoners. The attack took place before dawn, as ISIS was poised to capture Tal Afar, and the dead included three teenage boys, they said.

The counterterrorism prison in Tal Afar is a branch of the counterterrorism prison in Mosul, a local government official said. Both were under the control of the Interior Ministry, whose acting head is Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

That same night, according to police and government sources, 43 detainees were killed inside the al-Wahda police station, near Baaquba, the capital of Diyala province, 50 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.

Police sources told Human Rights Watch that the prisoners died in crossfire during an ISIS attack on the prison, but other local civil government officials said that prison guards and Shia militiamen killed the prisoners.

A medical worker at Baaquba general hospital, where first responders took the dead prisoners, told Human Rights Watch that he saw the 43 bodies. All were shot in the head execution-style and their limbs were broken, he said. Another detainee, Ahmed Zeidan, the only known survivor, died the next day an hour after police took him from the hospital where he was being treated.

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