Shocking Report: Muslim Iraqi security forces ‘abuse female prisoners’

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Iraqi security forces are detaining thousands of women illegally and subjecting them to torture and abuse, a new report by Human Rights Watch says.

Many were held for months or even years without charge, the report found.rape

Interrogators often questioned them about their male relatives’ activities rather than the crimes in which they themselves were implicated in, it said.

The government called the claims “over-exaggerated”, but admitted a number of female detainees had been mistreated.

“We have some limited illegal behaviours which were practised by security forces against women prisoners,” a spokesman for the human rights ministry said. “Iraq is still working to put an end to prison abuse.”

He added that those responsible would be held accountable.

‘Second-class status’

More than 4,500 women are currently being held in prisons across Iraq, according to the 105-page report, entitled “No One is Safe” – The Abuse of Women in Iraq’s Criminal Justice System.

A vast majority of them are Sunni Muslims, but the abuses documented by HRW showed “women of all sects and classes” were affected.

Many of those interviewed described being “beaten, kicked, slapped, hung upside-down and beaten on their feet, given electric shocks, and raped or threatened with sexual assault by security forces during their interrogation”.

Sexual violence was so commonplace that one employee at a women’s prison facility was quoted as saying: “We expect that they’ve been raped by police on the way to the prison.”

Contrary to Iraqi law, most of the female detainees had no access to a lawyer before or during their interrogations, the study found.

“Iraqi security forces and officials act as if brutally abusing women will make the country safer,” said Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director.

“Both men and women suffer from the severe flaws of the criminal justice system. But women suffer a double burden due to their second-class status in Iraqi society.”

In late 2012, Sunnis took to the streets demanding that the Shia-led government release women who were being held without charge or because of acts of terrorism allegedly committed by their relatives.

But HRW said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had failed to carry out his promised reforms of the criminal justice system.

Several judges who tried terrorism cases alleged that some investigative judges were still committing serious violations of suspects’ due process rights because of their “collusion with security officers and because of the considerable influence Maliki exerts over the judiciary”, the report said.

Iraq has seen a surge in violence over the past year. Government data says more than 1,000 people died in January, which would be the highest monthly toll for almost six years.

HRW warned that the security forces’ heavy-handed tactics and alleged abuses in Sunni-dominated areas were “undermining the government’s military efforts” to combat insurgents linked to al-Qaeda who have attempted to take control of the cities of Falluja and Ramadi.

 

(source: BBC-News UK)

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Imprisioned after being raped – an other example of Islamic Injustice

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16-month prison sentence for a A Norwegian woman after reporting a rape incident to Dubai police.

A Norwegian woman has spoken out about the 16-month prison sentence she received in Dubai after reporting a rape incident to police.

Interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv was on a business trip in Dubai when she says she was raped.

The 24-year-old reported the March attack to the police but found herself charged with having extramarital sex, drinking alcohol, and perjury.

Convicted earlier this week, she says she is appealing against the verdict.

The appeal hearing is scheduled for early September.

Describing the sentence as “very harsh”, she told the AFP news agency: “I am very nervous and tense. But I hope for the best and I take one day at a time. I just have to get through this.”

The case has angered rights groups and the authorities in Norway.

Marte Deborah Dalelv

Marte Deborah Dalelv

‘Wanted’

Ms Dalelv says she had been on a night out with colleagues on 6 March when the rape took place.

She reported it to the police, who proceeded to confiscate her passport and seize her money. She was charged four days later on three counts, including having sex outside marriage.

Her alleged attacker, she said, received a 13-month sentence for extra-marital sex and alcohol consumption.

The Norwegian government had secured Ms Dalelv’s conditional release so, since being charged, she has been living under the protection of the Norwegian Seamans’ Centre in Dubai.

But she told Norway’s NRK News that following her sentencing on Tuesday she was now officially wanted by the Dubai authorities.

“I should have been imprisoned since Tuesday,” she said. “But I have been told they are not searching for me.”

The sentence has been condemned by Norway’s Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide who is quoted as saying that it “flies in the face of our notion of justice” and was “highly problematic from a human rights perspective”.

The Norwegian authorities are reportedly trying to contact the authorities in Dubai about the situation.

The London-based Emirates Centre for Human Rights called on the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to which Dubai belongs, to quash Ms Dalelv’s conviction.

It said the UAE’s claims that it is attempting to end discrimination against women was undermined by a legal system that “prohibits the achievement of justice for cases of sexual violence against women”.

Currently, the law stipulates that, to gain a rape conviction, there must either be a confession or for four adult male witnesses to the crime.

Tensions

Dubai has undergone a rapid transformation in recent years, emerging as a five-star trade and tourism destination with its tax-free salaries and year-round sunshine.

It is now one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities with foreign workers and visitors greatly outnumbering the local population.

But it remains a deeply conservative region, and its strict laws have caught out foreigners in the past.

An Australian woman, Alicia Gali, was jailed for eight months in 2008 for having extra-marital sex after complaining to the police that she had been drugged and raped by three co-workers.

Public displays of affection and drunkenness are also frowned upon.

A British couple, Ayman Najafi and Charlotte Adams, were jailed for a month in 2010 after they shared what Mr Najafi described as an “innocuous peck on the cheek” in a restaurant. A witness said they had kissed on the mouth.

Another British couple, Vince Acors and Michelle Palmer, were jailed for three months in 2008 for having sex on a public beach – an allegation they denied.

Freedom for Marte Deborah Dalelv!

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