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Monday 11th of November 2019

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Iraq: Thousands Detained, Including Children, in Degrading Conditions

Thursday 4th of July 2019 | Asia, Iraq
Human Rights Watch
News

(Beirut) – Nineveh’s extremely overcrowded detention facilities are holding thousands of prisoners in Iraq, most on terrorism charges, for extended periods in conditions so degrading that they amount to ill-treatment. The authorities should ensure that prisoners are not held in inhuman conditions and that there is a clear legal basis for detentions, Human Rights Watch said today.

“The Iraqi government urgently needs to rebuild and rehabilitate its detention facilities,” said Lama Fakih, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Iraq has a duty to ensure that detainees are housed decently, in line with international standards.”

Tal Kayf, Faisaliya, and Tasfirat (in the Faisaliya compound), the three pretrial detention facilities in the northern Iraq governorate, have a combined maximum capacity of 2,500 people, according to a senior Iraqi penitentiary expert who requested anonymity. As of late June 2019, they were holding about 4,500 prisoners and detainees. Of that number, 1,300 had been tried and convicted and should have been transferred to Baghdad prisons. The authorities had yet to take the steps needed to transfer them, the expert said, even six months after some were convicted.

The expert shared photos taken in May of female terrorism suspects with their children in one cell in Tal Kayf prison, and juvenile terrorism suspects in another. Two other people who had visited the prison corroborated the conditions of extreme overcrowding seen in the photos and their location. The expert said the cells at Tal Kayf prison holding detainees on other charges are less crowded because of lower numbers.

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