portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

human & civil rights | imperialism & war | prisons & prisoners

Amnesty International: "Stop the Torture"

It will be good to clean house for the sake of the Iraqi people.
Iraq: Stop the torture


Amnesty International called on the Iraqi authorities to put an end to the systematic torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners and to introduce legislative and practical steps to improve the human rights situation in the country.

In a report published today -- Iraq: Systematic torture of political prisoners -- the organization paints a grim picture of routine torture, whereby horrendous physical and psychological suffering is inflicted upon political prisoners and detainees.

"Victims of torture in Iraq are subjected to a wide range of forms of torture, including the gouging out of eyes, severe beatings and electric shocks," said Amnesty International, based on interviews with hundreds of torture victims in Iraq over the years. "Some victims have died as a result and many have been left with permanent physical and psychological damage."

Other methods of torture include extinguishing of cigarettes on various parts of the body, extraction of finger nails and toenails and piercing of the hands with an electric drill. Some have been sexually abused and others have had objects, including broken bottles, forced into their anus. In addition to physical torture, detainees have been threatened with rape and subjected to mock executions.

Over the years many victims of torture have been Shia Muslims from Baghdad or from Southern Iraq. The fate of al-Shaikh Nazzar Kadhim al-Bahadli, a 29-year-old theology student from Saddam City, a district of Baghdad, is typical. He was arrested in 1999 and was tortured for long periods in the building of Saddam City Security Directorate. His wife, father and mother were reportedly brought to the building in August 1999 and were tortured in front of him to force him to confess to being one of those responsible for the April 1999 disturbances in Saddam City. He was said to have confessed in order to spare his relatives any further torture. They were released following his confession but he was sentenced to death later and executed at the beginning of 2001.

Torture is used against other political opponents and army and security officers suspected of dissidence or involvement in coup attempts. Amnesty International's report also documents torture, ill-treatment and extra-judicial executions of women.

A 25-year-old woman known as "Um Haydar" was beheaded in the street without charge or trial at the end of December 2000 after her husband, who was suspected by the authorities of involvement in Islamist armed activities, fled the country. Um Haydar was taken from her house in al-Karrada district, in front of her children and mother-in-law, by men belonging to Fedaiyye Saddam. Two men held her by the arms and a third pulled her head from behind and beheaded her in front of the residents. The beheading was also witnessed by members of the ruling Ba'ath Party in the area. The security men took the body and the head in a plastic bag and took away the children and mother-in-law. Their fate remains unknown.

The report stresses that torture in Iraq is also practised through various judicial punishments, which were introduced in the mid-1990s ostensibly to stem the increase in the crime rate that the Government attributed to the impact of economic sanctions imposed on the country since 1990. These 'judicial punishments,' including amputation of hand and foot, branding of forehead and cutting off of the ears, used to be publicized by the Iraqi media. Such publicity became rarer since the end of 1996, following international condemnation of these punishments.

Amnesty International's recommendations to the Iraqi authorities include renewed calls to ratify and implement fully in domestic law and practice the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; repeal all decrees imposing punishments amounting to torture; set up an independent body to undertake impartial investigations into all allegations of torture and bring to justice anyone responsible for serious violations; and put an end to all extra-judicial executions.

"The systematic torture and climate of fear that have prevailed in Iraq for so many years must be brought to an end," Amnesty International said. "The continuing scale and severity of human suffering must not be allowed to continue."

homepage: homepage: http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/MDE140122001?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES\IRAQ

...and now for some more recent releases... 19.Mar.2003 02:14

Proletariat Promotions, Inc.

Even Veterans are vulnerable to state sanctioned homicide in the Land of the Free. This release, unlike the former, is current.

thus,

Liar: "...In a report published today -- Iraq..."


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PRESS RELEASE


AI Index: AMR 51/041/2003 (Public)
News Service No: 062
18 March 2003

USA: President Bush sanctions another killing
As he prepares his country for war in Iraq, President George Bush has maintained his support for state-sanctioned killing at home, Amnesty International said after former soldier Louis Jones was killed by federal executioners in Indiana earlier today.

"We deeply regret that the President has once again failed to offer human rights leadership on this fundamental issue," Amnesty International said. "His repeated assertions that the USA will stand firm for the 'non-negotiable demands of human dignity' were drained of meaning as Louis Jones was taken from his cell and injected with poison by government employees."

Louis Jones, a veteran of the 1990/91 Gulf War, was sentenced to death in 1995 for the murder of Tracie Joy McBride, a private in the US army. Jones's unsuccessful clemency petition to President Bush included evidence that this decorated soldier suffered from personality-altering brain damage related to "Gulf War Syndrome" as a result of his exposure to toxins during that conflict. Louis Jones always expressed his remorse for the murder and his responsibility for it. His clemency petition had asked for his death sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment without the possibility of release.

"We recall President Bush's promise, upon inauguration, to be a president who would speak for 'greater justice and compassion'," Amnesty International said. The organization acknowledged the suffering that the murder of Tracie McBride will have caused, but also noted that even the jurors at the 1995 trial held that Louis Jones's own daughter would be harmed by the emotional trauma of her father's execution.

Louis Jones was the first person to be sentenced to death under a 1994 law which greatly expanded the federal death penalty, and thereby contradicted international human rights standards which seek to progressively limit the scope of capital punishment.

"More than 100 countries have turned their backs on this cruel and irrevocable punishment," Amnesty International continued. "What the US Government has done today sets it apart from a clear majority of nations."

Louis Jones was sentenced to death by a jury of 11 whites and one black in a federal court in Texas. He was African American and Tracy McBride was white.

After the trial, two jurors came forward to say that the jury had been thrown into confusion by an erroneous sentencing instruction by the judge, which led them, wrongly, to believe that a lack of unanimity on either death or life imprisonment without parole would result in the court imposing a lesser sentence. The sole African American juror was subsequently singled out for particular pressure by the majority in order to get her to change her vote from life to death. Four US Supreme Court Justices - one short of a majority - voted that Louis Jones should receive a new sentencing hearing because of the trial judge's error.

"Louis Jones's death sentence survived the appeals process despite the fact that every appellate judge who has reviewed his case has agreed that the trial court misstated the sentencing options available to his jury," Amnesty International said.

"We regret that President Bush appears to have failed to grasp that the power of executive clemency exists precisely to compensate for the rigidity of the judiciary."

Background

During George W. Bush's five-year governorship in Texas, there were 152 executions in that state. After taking office in the White House, he allowed federal executions to resume in 2001 after nearly four decades without them, despite the failure of his administration to explain widespread geographic and racial disparities in federal capital sentencing. It still has offered no such explanation. The killing of Louis Jones was the third such execution of the Bush presidency.

For information on Louis Jones's case, see: Another planned killing by the US Government - The imminent federal execution of Louis Jones -  http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/AMR510202003



Public Document
****************************************
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web:  http://www.amnesty.org

For latest human rights news view  http://news.amnesty.org

Lame excuse from AI on "Gulf War Syndrome" 19.Mar.2003 03:43

ViriiK

"""suffered from personality-altering brain damage related to "Gulf War Syndrome" as a result of his exposure to toxins during that conflict. """

HAHHAAHA that's funny. Gulf War Syndrome was just a bad combination of medicine/vaccines put together in the body. The problem was that they weren't tested for safety.

Get your facts straight 19.Mar.2003 08:09

ranger

VirriK; The jury is still out on the cause(s) of Gulf War Syndrome, so don't assume it is just related to untsted vaccines. The role of multiple chemical/drug/misc exposures is poorly understood, and based on the experience of Agent Orange studies, the PGS studies should continue.