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.


Iran virus deaths surge past 24,000

Updated 20 September 2020

Iran virus deaths surge past 24,000

  • President Hassan Rouhani blamed people’s failure to observe preventive measures, especially wearing masks, for the surge in cases

JEDDAH: The official coronavirus death toll in Iran surged past 24,000 on Saturday as health chiefs admitted 90 percent of COVID-19 patients on ventilators in hospital were dying.

Payam Tabarsi, head of infectious diseases at Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran, said the number of emergency room patients had jumped from 68 a day to 200 in the past week. “People are queuing to be admitted,” he said, and if the trend continued, deaths from coronavirus could reach 600 a day within weeks.

Iran’s total number of confirmed cases in the past 24 hours spiked by 2,845 to 419,043 and the death toll rose by 166 to 24,118, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said.

Iran was slow to react to the first coronavirus cases in February, and is now battling the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak. Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June.

Analysts both inside and outside Iran are skeptical of the official figures and believe the true level of infections and deaths is far higher. President Hassan Rouhani blamed people’s failure to observe preventive measures, especially wearing masks, for the surge in cases.

“Today, the Health Ministry gave a worrying report,” he said on Saturday. “The public’s observance, which was 82 percent in earlier weeks, has fallen to 62 percent.”

FASTFACTS

  • Iran’s total number of confirmed cases in the past 24 hours spiked by 2,845 to 419,043 and the death toll rose by 166 to 24,118. •Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June. •551 new cases were reported in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271. •Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a ‘second wave.’
  • Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June.
  • 551 new cases were reported in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271.
  • Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a ‘second wave.’

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia daily coronavirus case numbers have fallen to a five-month low after 551 new cases were reported on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271. The death toll rose by 28 to 4,458. The last time the Kingdom recorded numbers in the 500s was April 15, when 518 cases were reported.

Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a “second wave” of the pandemic after the first outbreaks early in the year.

European countries from Denmark to Greece have announced new restrictions to curb surging infections in some of their largest cities, and Britain is considering new measures to tackle an “inevitable” second wave of COVID-19.

The UK has reported the fifth-largest number of deaths from COVID-19 in the world, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico. “We are now seeing a second wave coming in ... it is absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable, that we will see it in this country,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

England’s public health chief Yvonne Doyle said: “We’re seeing clear signs this virus is now spreading across all age groups and I am particularly worried by the increase … among older people. This could be a warning of far worse things to come.”