Incommunicado detentions persist at Iraq prison earmarked for closure: HRW

Mass arrests and incommunicado detentions persist at Camp Honor, a prison in Iraq’s capital Baghdad that the Iraqi government promised to close last year, Human Rights Watch reported May 15. According to HRW, the Iraqi government is holding hundreds of detainees incommunicado for months at a time at Camp Honor, as well as two unnamed facilities in the Green Zone. Those being held at these facilities were reportedly rounded up by security troops who encircled neighborhoods and went door-to-door with a list of names of people to detain.

HRW’s deputy Middle East director Joe Stork said:

Iraqi security forces are grabbing people outside of the law, without trial or known charges, and hiding them away in incommunicado sites. The Iraqi government should immediately reveal the names and locations of all detainees, promptly free those not charged with crimes, and bring those facing charges before an independent judicial authority.

In March 2011 Iraq’s Justice Ministry spokesperson Haidar al-Saad announced that Camp Honor’s prison population would be transferred to various other Iraqi prisons, after HRW and Amnesty International released reports that exposed rampant human rights violations at this facility, including torture.

This March more than 20 Iraqi police officers were arrested and faced interrogation following the escape of 19 detainees from a temporary prison in Iraq. The group of escapees, who were being held at the al-Tasfirat prison in the city of Kirkuk, included alleged al-Qaeda leaders and two men who had been sentenced to death. In September 2010, Amnesty reported that the Iraqi government was unlawfully detaining and torturing thousands of detainees. In June 2010, UN Special Representative to Iraq Ad Melkert urged the Iraqi government to ratify the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

From Jurist, May 16. Used with permission.

See our last post on Iraq and torture/detention scandals.