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Monday, November 21, 2016

Amnesty accuses Iraqi government forces of killing and torturing civilians in Mosul offensive

According to the rights group, Amnesty International, government forces killed and tortured civilians in the Shura and Qayyara districts south of Mosul. Six bodies were found.

Lynn Maalouf, deputy director of research at the Amnesty office in Beirut Lebanon said: "Men in federal police uniform have carried out multiple unlawful killings, apprehending and then deliberately killing in cold blood residents in villages south of Mosul." Maalouf also said: "When the Mosul military operation began, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made clear that violations by Iraqi armed forces and its allies would not be tolerated. Now is the time for him to prove just that. The Iraqi authorities must immediately investigate these alarming reports of extrajudicial executions and torture." The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi denied the Amnesty allegation claiming that local residents, not government troops, had killed Islamic State members. He said that the group was spreading fear among Iraqis through its reporting and would bear responsibility for people who might flee the city as a result.
Another rights group, Human Rights Watch, said that at least 37 men who were suspected of being associated with the Islamic State (IS) had been detained by Iraqi and Kurdish forces, from various checkpoints, villages, screening centers around Mosul and districts further south. Relatives complained that they were unable to find out where the men were being held and had been able to contact them in detention. Interior Minister Dindar Zebari said: "Nobody has been kept in unknown facilities. They are kept in identified facilities." He denied that Iraqi forces were involved in any human rights violations. A representative of the Kurdish regional government said that delays in informing families arose through a shortage of resources.
The Mosul offensive involves troops, security forces, Kurdish peshmerga and Shiite militia — about 100,000 in all. U.S.-led airstrikes back the offensive. A BBC report claims those involved in the offensive at only 50,000.
Amnesty reported several incidents around Oct.. 21 when separate groups of men were beaten with cables and rifle butts and then shot to done. One of the men's head had been severed from his body. Amnesty was concerned that without any accountability these types of abuses would happen in other areas as the offensive continued. So far the offensive has entered the eastern outskirts of Mosul but that is over a week ago as the IS fighters put up fierce resistance.
The BBC gives a more extensive report on one Oct. 21 incident in which about 10 men and a 16-year old boy who had escaped being forcibly transferred by the IS handed themselves over to a small group of men wearing police uniforms. They were all taken to a desert area where they were beaten with cables and rifle butts, punched and kicked. They were made to lie on their stomachs and shots fired between their legs. Three men were separated and subject to brutal beatings before being shot dead. A fourth body of a man handcuffed and beaten was found about a week later.
The IS are also killing many whom they think are passing on information to the enemy. Bodies have been hung up on hydro poles to put them on display. Civilians are also often killed by US airstrikes, the number killed often being under-reported.

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