Iraqi lawyer Sahar Mahdi speaks out about prisoners of occupation

May 28th, 2008

Interview with Sahar Mahdi, published in the newspaper Al Wahda (Amman)

Iraqi lawyer reveals a secret:

Four hundred thousand political prisoners in Iraq!

For the first time volunteer jurist to detect the number of Iraqi prisoners in Iraqi prisons and America together.

10 thousand women and 6500 suffered the worst abuses occurred

Children suffer torture, rape, illegal arrest, which targeted

95% of the prisoners were raped

Talk to the Iraqi lawyer Sahar Yasiri, has met with Mushahid in Brussels, and interviewed as the representative of the Federation of prisoners and political prisoners in Iraq, on the sidelines of a conference organized by the World Commission against unarmed cooperation with the “Free University of Brussels.”


* In quantify the number of Iraqi prisoners since the U.S. occupation of Iraq?.

– According to the reports of foreign organizations and the American press, a number of these detainees is 400 thousand, including the 6500 event, and 10 thousand women. There are 36 prisons in Iraq apart from Abu Ghraib, the prison is located in all provinces, including Kurdistan north, let alone the prison located in the U.S. military bases.

We have another kind of so-called prisoners »ghost prisoners« and the A prisoner does not have information about them, and their parents do not know anything about them, estimated that Iraq would become the largest possible number of prisons and detention centres in the whole world, apart from the occupation prisons, there are other prisons Iraqi Government and the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of National Security and Intelligence Service, as well as private prisons to political parties.

There is no doubt that these prisons are the ugliest images of human rights violations and prisoners are detained without a warrant, who are languishing in prisons for long periods without bringing them to court.

Monitors conditions of prisoners, what happens inside these prisons?.

– What I can say is that 95% of these prisoners have been raped, and 5% threatened with rape, especially women belonging to the Islamic trend. And assure that the American policy of systematic rape in torture did not escape it happened, woman or man, perhaps public opinion taut what is going on in Abu Ghraib prison, but I say that the images that went out into the open about the scandals and abuses exposed the Abu Ghraib prison and one, but it did not show the truth Other prisons, and perhaps the Abu Ghraib prison mercy of other prisons.


* Legal, how do you see the Central Intelligence Agency and violations of human rights?.

– In the speech delivered by the President in September 6 (September), 2006 stated that the CIA detention and interrogation »suffered several legal reviews by the Ministry of Defence and counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency«, and that »subject to strict supervision by the Inspector General of the IAEA«. But if the program has undergone a thorough examination, as President Bush has hinted, it raises serious questions about judicial review by the government agencies responsible for issues of national and international consequences, namely that the program illegally heart and mind to international standards of human rights and humanitarian law standards.

The arrest and abuse of prisoners in violation of the United States for a set of basic standards of human rights. Enforced disappearances, including arbitrary detention and secret detention and incommunicado detention, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, are prohibited under international human rights law.

Q: What is the legal definition of forced disappearance?.

– Known as the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons »enforced« that: arrest, detention or abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty is at the hands of state officials, or persons or groups of individuals acting with the authorization or support from the State or consent, followed by a refusal to acknowledge Deprive a person of liberty or concealment of the fate of the disappeared person or his whereabouts, thus depriving them of the protection of the law.

Although the Convention, adopted recently have not yet entered into force, the definition of enforced disappearance in line with the definitions contained in a number of international covenants of Macedonia.

And when it began signing »Convention enforced« 6 February (February), 2007 and signed by 57 countries immediately. But the United States were not among the signatories, although active participation in the drafting of the Convention. Said Sean McCormack, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said the United States did not sign, because the Convention as adopted »do not meet our needs and expectations«, but he did not provide further details.

The law prohibits international »disappearances« in all circumstances, as stipulated »Convention enforced« on that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any other state of exception, to justify Enforced «. The Convention prohibits secret detention, and calls on States parties to place all the detainees in detention centers known officially, and keep detailed records of each official of detainees, and to allow detainees to contact their families and lawyers, and enable relevant authorities to communicate with detainees.

The practice of enforced disappearances dangerous threat to a number of human rights, such as the right to life, prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, the right to liberty and personal security, the right to a fair trial and the public. For a long acknowledged »Working Group on Enforced«, the United Nations, that the crime of enforced disappearance »continuing offence even know the fate or whereabouts disappeared«, therefore »disappeared« detained by the United States who have disappeared since transferred to another place, remain a legal obligation The United States as long as yet unknown fate or whereabouts.

Q: What consequences enforced?.

– Is not enforced in violation of the fundamental rights of the person »disappeared«, but it happens pain and suffering severe psychological to family members this person also, if the political detention in secret is what hurt him which also means that children nowadays do not know whether the raid is still on Alive or not, and that his wife does not know if they were still married or not, and this puzzling complexity of the effects of the recent past.

It is noticeable that »Working Group on Enforced«, the United Nations expressed grave concern the U.S. government from using secret prisons to detain suspected terrorists, and concluded that detention in such circumstances is »a denial of basic human rights are consistent with international humanitarian law and the law Human Rights «.

In order to protect detainees from being violated, should be placed in detention camps officially recognized. We must keep records proving the names of prisoners and place of detention and the names of those responsible for their arrest, and that such records available to those concerned, such as relatives and friends. In addition, it must »communicated to their relatives or lawyers or other persons enjoying their confidence, the immediate, accurate information about their detention and their whereabouts, including the operations of transporting« Finally, we must register the names and locations of all interrogations, and the names of all those who were present, and must This information will be available for the purpose of taking judicial or administrative proceedings.

International law also prohibits detention in isolation from the outside world, even if it did not represent »disappearance. According to the Law on Foreign Relations of the United States »Drafting third«, the state has violated the law if their prolonged arbitrary detention or encouraged or condoned by, as part of state policy.

Q: How do you see the torture of detainees and other ill-treatment?.

– A ban on international human rights law, torture and other ill-treatment of persons detained in all circumstances, whether in wartime or peacetime.

It is related ban treaty »the International Covenant on Civil and Political«, and »the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment«, (CAT), both ratified by the United States.

As is the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment in other international charters, such as »Universal Declaration of Human Rights«, and »Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment«, and »Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners«.

It also prohibits international humanitarian law »laws of war« torture and interrogation under duress at all times during the armed conflict. This is exemplified by the existing ban in the Geneva Conventions as well as customary laws of war in U.S. military field manuals and training.

On December 2 (December), 2002 and approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to use 16 as a means of interrogation at Guantanamo Bay, including »stressful conditions«, hooding, isolation, stripping, deprivation of light, and confiscation of religious symbols, forced grooming (shaving Lower hair), and the use of dogs. On January 15 (January), 2003, following criticism by the General Counsel at the U.S. Naval Rumsfeld cancelled directives issued on December 2 (December), saying that harsh methods most of them will be used only with his consent. Rumsfeld then form a working group to examine interrogation methods that should be allowed to be used with the Guantanamo prisoners, this study resulted in the announcement of Rumsfeld in April 16 (April), a note on the methods used exclusively for questioning »illegal combatants« detainees at Guantanamo. No longer allowed after using stress positions, stripping and dogs.

The »migrated« those methods that can be followed in the interrogation - in the words of Schlesinger report - to Iraq and Afghanistan to be applied by U.S. officials periodically on the detainees. After the disclosure of the Abu Ghraib photographs in April (April), 2004 Bush administration has denied responsibility, and eventually changed and the Defense Department memorandum dated August 1 (August), 2002, which was considered as a legal logic of interrogation methods allowed.

However, these restrictions on the interrogation methods were not applicable to the Central Intelligence Agency, apparently. And a report that the Bush administration and the Ministry of Justice gave permission for the Central Intelligence Agency, using additional ways such as water immersion (simulated drowning) and January (January), 2005, allegedly appointed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in a written reply during the meetings of proof, that the international prohibition of cruel, Inhuman or degrading treatment does not apply to U.S. officials in the treatment of non-citizens abroad, pointing out that no law prevents the Central Intelligence Agency use of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in the interrogation of non-Americans outside the United States.

Q: What story »McCain amendment« which prohibits any violation by any American official?.

– In December (December), 2005, despite the objections of the Bush administration, Congress enacted »the Treatment of Detainees«, which includes »McCain amendment« which prohibits the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by any U.S. official works anywhere in the world. In June (June), in 2006 the Supreme Court ruled in the lawsuit filed by Hamdan Rumsfeld on the need for the U.S. government treatment of detainees »Qaeda« treated humanely, in accordance with the provisions of Article III common to the Geneva Conventions.

Then ordered the Defense Ministry and army to ensure the commitment to these standards in all practices, and announced the new rules rejects many of the interrogation methods involving the violation, such as »water immersion«, and painful stress positions, sleep deprivation or exposure to cold for long periods, but Bush administration proposed at the same time, another law must be enacted standards of humane treatment contained in Article III common to the Geneva Conventions to allow the Central Intelligence Agency to continue the use of interrogation methods involving the violation, which is currently banned by the U.S. Department of Defense. Congress rejected the proposal in the last administration, but the results of that were mixed. In military courts of law in the year 2006, Congress has kept on most of the law of war crimes for the year, 1996 which provides for prosecution of criminal prosecution investigators on torture and »cruel, inhuman« (known as conduct causing pain or suffering physical or psychological Severe). But the law limits the scope of crimes that require prosecution under the War Crimes Act, which increases the level permissible to inflict pain or suffering severe physical, which prevents the prosecution investigators from the breach in ourselves-who signed the lengthy pre new law.

Q: What about prisoners of the CIA?.

– Observed that although the U.S. authorities alleged that the detainees held by the Central Intelligence Agency treated in accordance with the law, they have taken strict measures to ensure non-disclosure of the details of this transaction. It prevents the government until today contact lawyers Majeed Khan, for example, one of the fourteen detainees who were transferred to Guantanamo last year, claiming that his detention prior to the CIA may have resulted »to obtain information» secret «, such as places of detention and conditions and alternative methods of interrogation «, And similarly, the law of military tribunals in 2006 and the rules of evidence and procedures attached to it, a number of provisions aimed at the non-disclosure» methods and activities of «the Central Intelligence Agency, the methods and activities that are known to contain» disappearances «torture and other violations.

Q: What is your calendar for the suffering of children in American prisons?.

– These children suffer torture and rape, starvation and lack of legitimacy of the arrests targeted, they do not know why arrested? Indiscriminate arrests are based on government directives and sectarian parties scattered across the country’s governorates, and without any legal justification or any legal guarantees ensure that a detainee has the right to defend himself and to enjoy the rights guaranteed by legislation Iraqi and international human rights principles, and without their offer to the competent courts, many of whom Was not presented to a judge for months, to overcome the risk of human rights and in particular children and juveniles, and we stress that the arrests taking place now and in the past were not based on any legal text, but the desire and the decision of the occupation forces and the government and heads of political blocs. Finally admitted to the American delegate to the UN Security Council Zalmay Khalilzad on Tuesday, 20 - 5 -2008 detain the United States for about 2500 Iraqi minor under the age of 16 in Iraq for a year or more ago in 2003 affirming that the goal is to “educate and divert them from terrorists who want to Exploitation. ” He said Khalilzad told reporters “unfortunately that terrorists exploit minors in the exercise of violence and therefore we had detained.” The report periodically on the (United States commitment to the United Nations Treaty on Human Rights) had indicated that the United States since the holding in 2003 about a minor 2500, the American delegate stressed that “a lot of efforts to secure the psychological and educational needs of these minors.” Khalilzad pointed out that the development of special education programme for these minors detained, adding, “We are not happy surely these circumstances, but unfortunately, the reality of life says that terrorist groups use these minors to exercise violence against the Iraqi government and coalition forces. The organization Human Rights Watch that U.S. military authorities detain 513 Iraqi children from May 12 until May as “an urgent notice on security.” She added that since the U.S. invasion in March was detained in March 2003 the United States in 2400 children under the age of ten of them in Iraq until the young age of ten. The organization said that children are being incarcerated Sometimes questioning over days or weeks at the hands of military units in the field before being sent to detention centres and the main they do not have a real chance to challenge custody. Incondite said Clarissa researcher at Human Rights Watch “the overwhelming majority of these children are detained in Iraq are suffering for months in solitary U.S. military.”She added” the United States must give these children access to immediate legal counsel and review the custody of the body Kdhaeehmstklh. “Directed Human Rights Watch these criticisms day before the meeting of the UN Commission on the Rights of the Child in Geneva to review the submission of a treaty the United States International charter on children in areas of armed conflict. Treaty obliges States to help recover children who are under their control.

Al Wahda - Amman - Jordan