Rights group: Daesh suspects face violations in Iraqi custody

Blindfolded and handcuffed men are lead to custody after being arrested in Hillah, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq. The Iraqi security forces arrested three men during a recent security operation in the city who they suspected of members of Daesh. Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, that thousands of people suspected of having ties to Daesh face widespread rights violations in Iraqi custody. (AP Photo, File)
Updated 06 December 2017

Rights group: Daesh suspects face violations in Iraqi custody

BAGHDAD: Thousands of people suspected of having ties to the Daesh group are facing widespread rights violations in Iraqi custody, Human Rights watch said Tuesday.
The New York-based rights group said some 20,000 people are believed to be in Iraqi custody on suspicion of ties to Daesh. Many are held in inhumane detention facilities and not granted due process, according to the watchdog’s 76-page report, based on information gathered in Baghdad and northern Iraq from November 2016 to July 2017.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi dismissed the report, saying much of its findings were “unverified” and that Human Rights Watch should devote more attention to the crimes committed by the extremists.
As Iraqi ground forces backed by the US-led coalition have slowly retaken nearly all of the territory once held by Daesh, thousands of men, women and children suspected of having ties to the group have been arrested and detained.
The prisoners have overwhelmed Iraq’s already weak judicial system.
Screening processes are flawed, many detainees are being held in inhumane conditions and suspects are largely being tried under broad counterterrorism laws with harsh sentences, the report said.
An innocent person wrongfully identified as an Daesh member in the screening process “may spend months in mass arbitrary detention during the course of their judicial investigation,” the group found.
Prosecuting Daesh suspects under Iraq’s counterterrorism laws is “easier,” Human Rights Watch said, as a court would only need to prove membership in Daesh, rather than establish that individual acts violated Iraqi criminal codes.
Under counterterrorism laws, Iraqi authorities can sentence people who worked as doctors or cooks within Daesh with the same harsh penalties — including death or life in prison — as Daesh members who carried out violent acts, the report said.
“This approach makes it less likely that the process will establish a more comprehensive judicial record of the crimes committed,” Human Rights Watch warned, ultimately depriving Daesh victims of justice and potentially undermining future attempts at reconciliation in Iraq.

Saudi Arabia, UAE form joint panel to enforce Yemen cease-fire

Updated 43 min 15 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, UAE form joint panel to enforce Yemen cease-fire

  • The panel will ensure all the ceasefire procedures are followed
  • Saudi Arabia and UAE will continue their support for the Arab coalition

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE have formed a joint panel to support the cease-fire between Yemen’s government and southern separatist forces in Shabwah and Abyan, Saudi state news agency SPA reported on Monday.

The panel will ensure the implementation of the cease-fire, Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.

The two states issued a joint statement by the foreign ministries, urging the sides to honor the cease-fire and return the civilian headquarters in Aden of the legitimate government.

The governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE confirmed they will continue their support, politically, militarily and through relief support to the Arab coalition in Yemen, the statement added.

The separatist forces of the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) declared last month they were breaking away from the UN-recognized legitimate government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, based in the southern city of Aden.

Their forces seized governmental structures and military camps in Aden, Shabwa and Abyan. Last week, they partially withdrew from strategic areas in Aden under pressure from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

STC still retain control of military sites in the province.