IRAQ: Civil Society organizations decry whipping and other tortures at 15 July demonstration


16 July 2011
IRAQ: Civil Society
organizations decry whipping and other tortures at 15 July demonstration

[Note: The appeal below has been edited for clarity.  The original is available here.]

The following appeal was written by the Federation of Civil
Society Organizations that CPT works closely with and most likely will be
joining.  They asked that we distribute this article.  The CPTer
mentioned below is Garland Robertson, who was taken by the police briefly, for
videotaping the situation.  He was let go when he showed them his ID.

 CPT Iraq

Stop the Whipping in Suleimaniyah
Following the call for a
demonstration at 5:00 pm on July 15th 2011, scores of military, security,
militia and polices forces were stationed at the heart of the city of
Suleimaniyah.  The center of the
city was literally occupied by those forces, which without any legal, ethical
or moral restraints, attacked people and established special locations for
whipping activists and ordinary citizens.
The behaviors witnessed today were not different from those committed by the
military forces of the Baath regime, and are contrary to the internal and
international laws and regulations.  They even contradict laws regarding demonstrations in the
Kurdistan region.  A member of the
Federation of Civil Society Organizations was observing the developments
closely and he witnessed the arrest and torture [Rehman Gharib], the director
of Metro Center to Defend Journalists.  He was taken to an unknown place by the security forces at
the time that a member of our Federation was threatened by a person from the
security forces.  When [people
requested] an explanation for these inhumane behaviors, the response was,
“We are coming from the villages and will not show the slightest degree of
mercy.”  This response in itself
intentionally defames the village dwellers and discredits the security forces.
The security forces established an official whipping location and hid it with a
blue veil.  The location was
between the famous “People” café and Suleimaniyah library.  A person passing by could easily hear
the sounds of slapping, kicking, and crying from people being tortured.  Scores of security forces wearing
civilian clothes were seen arresting people and taking them to that narrow
alley were the torture was underway. 
We overheard a young policeman advising the youth not to get into
trouble, because if they were arrested, they would be killed by the security
Journalists were not allowed to
cover the incident.  A number of
journalists and many ordinary citizens who were recording the developments using
their cell phones were arrested.  A
member of the Christian [Peacemaker] Teams was arrested, to be released later
by the police.
All of these violations are against the law and basic principles of human
rights.  We in the Federation of
Civil Society Organizations strongly condemn these behaviors and call on the
government and parliament of Kurdistan to conduct an urgent investigation into
these worrying developments.  The
authority [that was] torturing people on the streets of Suleimaniyah was not,
to us, a national Kurdish authority, but one that is plagued with a hysterical
fear of its own people.  [As] we
express our extreme [anxieties], we call on the Public Prosecution to sue the
heads of the security, police and the militia forces stationed in the city in
order to decrease the possibility of similar incidents in the future.
The Federation of Civil Society Organizations, Suleimaniyah

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