Interview on the effects of occupation in Iraq

January 6th, 2008

Interview with Iraqi lawyer Mrs. Sahar Mahdi, Bagdad, member of the ‘Prisoners and Captives Union’sahar_mahdi.jpgCould you give us some information about yourself and regarding your work?

Our institution was established in 1993 and deals with political prisoners. We have 50 lawyers in Bagdad and around 50 lawyers outside Bagdad.Besides Iraq we are organised in Syria, Jordan and Yemen, because there are people who were captured from Iraq and detained in these countries. For sure we also try to help the prisoners from these countries. We provide free lawyers for the prisoners, prepare reports on the prisons and political prisoners. We forward these reports to the UN, to the newspapers and magazines, because we want to let the world know what’s going on in the prisons of the USA and the Iraqi government.

Could you mention the prisons, about the conditions in them?

In Iraq there are 40,000 political prisoners. Among them there are 10,000 women and 6,500 children. We aren’t able to talk to the prisoners every time; our visits are generally prevented. The prisoners aren’t brought before a judge for years on end. Mistreatment and torture are used in order to break their dignity. So prisoners are attacked with dogs, they are brought to the interrogations naked, women, men, children are being raped. The same torture methods are both applied in the prisons of the USA and those of the Iraqi government. Nobody interferes, because torture is carried out under US command. Directly after the occupation the Bremen Law was issued, in order to punish the USA for its crimes.

What would you like to say about the resistance against the occupation in Iraq?

The Iraqi resistance is for the benefit of the people. Of course the bourgeois and pro-Western media show the USA as a protector. That’s why they publish lies and distorted news. We cannot know the character of the resistance in detail, because it is a clandestine resistance.
We learn the effect of the resistance from the pressure put by US Senators. And as far as we can see, the resistance of the Iraqi people is quite strong. The dead end the US Army is in can be seen from the huge pressure by from political and military forces within the USA, demanding withdrawal from Iraq.

Could you explain what the resistance consists of?

The resistance consists of four different currents. The first are Muslim forces, the second are left forces, the third are national forces and the fourth are unorganised forces. Among the unorganized forces there are also Turkmen and Christian components. Because the Kurds try to seize Irbil, the Turkmen people rely on the Arab resistance forces, on one hand against the Turkish state and on the other hand against the Kurdish collaborating forces.

What do you think about the Death Fast resistance in Turkey, that lasted for 7 years?
In the beginning I thought they are suffering a lot. But later, when I talked with friends, I found out that they fight against isolation and I found the resistance very correct. I’m on their side. This resistance will be very instructive for the future as well.

Thanks a lot for answering our questions, success for your work.