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Killings, Arrests and Abuse in the Iraqi Demonstrations

Killings, Arrests and Abuse in the Iraqi Demonstrations

"The excessive violence and cruelty used by the Iraqi security forces ended the lives of 14 demonstrators in 10 days of ongoing protests calling for economic and service improvements," the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said."The excessive violence and cruelty used by the Iraqi security forces ended the lives of 14 protesters in 10 days of ongoing protests calling for economic and service improvements," the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said.

 

22th of  July, 2018

 

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said, "The killing of peaceful demonstrators in southern Iraq has become systematic because elements in the Iraqi security forces are firing live bullets at the demonstrators without regard to the borders they work in, and those who shoot their bullets.

The forces that were tasked to stop the demonstrations in Basra, Maysan, Babil, Karbala, Najaf, Diwaniyah, Muthana and Dhi Qar, as well as Baghdad, used more severe violence against demonstrators.

"The excessive violence and cruelty used by the Iraqi security forces ended the lives of 14 demonstrators  in 10 days of ongoing protests calling for economic and service improvements," the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said."The excessive violence and cruelty used by the Iraqi security forces ended the lives of 14 protesters in 10 days of ongoing protests calling for economic and service improvements," the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said.

 

 

The director of the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, Mustafa Saadoun, said that "the strengthening of the presence of security forces in Basra and make them leave their duties in the provinces threatened by ISIS and sending them to target demonstrators who demand their rights to live in dignity, which is only clear evidence of the Iraqi government's efforts to suppress the demonstrators”.

Then he added: "The city of Basra takes the largest percentage of violence. All video documents and eyewitnesses confirm that live bullets were fired indiscriminately at demonstrators, which in itself is a document condemning the elements who shot at the demonstrators".

There is no legal justification for the Iraqi security forces to arrest demonstrators and shoot them, as some security agents have endangered the lives of thousands of demonstrators.

 

BAGHDAD: Two people were killed, tear gas and live bullets were used.

 

On 20th of July, 2018, hundreds of protesters marched out in Tahrir Square in the centre of Baghdad to demand government services and reforms in Iraqi state institutions. However, the tight security measures imposed by the authorities to surround the protesters and disrupt their demonstrations later led to violence.

The monitoring network in the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said that "the friction between demonstrators and security forces began half an hour after the start of the demonstrations, which began at 6 pm in Tahrir Square in the center of Baghdad, and there were fights with words and slogans said by some demonstrators against riot police".

Then added: "The riot police tried to break up the demonstration, but they could not, and some demonstrators started throwing them with bottles of water and shoes. This forces the riot police to respond with water cannons, tear gas and even live bullets”.

 "The security forces in Baghdad was deliberately hit the demonstrators with live bullets, as evidenced by the spread of snipers on the roofs of buildings overlooking the arena of demonstration,"  The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said.

"The riot police provoked the demonstrators by opening water hoses, which is what made the demonstrators throw bottles of water and shoes at the forces that attacked them," Mohammed Moayad, a journalist who monitored the demonstrations during an interview with the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said.

He added that "the security forces took advantage of the high buildings surrounding the Liberation Square to throw demonstrators tear gas and rubber bullets, in order to disperse them". 

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said that "tear gas, caused the suffocation of dozens of demonstrators and some of them are in dangerous cases". 

The Ministry of Health statement confirmed the killing of two demonstrators and wounding 45 others, as a result of excessive violence by the government forces that surrounded the demonstrators in Tahrir Square. 

"The demonstration was peaceful and aimed at demanding services, but some demonstrators went out and throw the empty bottles of water and shoes on riot police" Hussein al-Tamimi, a Tahrir square demonstrator, said in an interview with the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights.

The monitoring network at the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, also said that "the security forces detained nearly 40 demonstrators, after the demonstration were broke up. Some were followed up to their homes and detained there, most of whom were detained at Al-Sadoun police station in Baghdad".

Photos and videos posted on social media sites indicate excessive violence by Iraqi security forces against demonstrators and also indicate clashes between the two sides.

 

Basra: military mobilization and excessive violence against the demonstrators

 

In Basra, the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said that "Basra is the most protest areas where the Iraqi security forces used violence against demonstrators, the protests have been increasing since two weeks, At the same time, the Iraqi government increased military mobilization to suppress the demonstrators".

“Since the first day of the demonstrations and the Iraqi security forces used violence against us and firing live bullets directly from close distances"Hassan Faleh, a demonstrator from Basra during an interview with the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights.

He also said that "the number of wounded more than figures announced in the media or in reports of human rights organizations or even health institutions, because some of the injured cannot go to the hospital or police stations to report an attack because of fearing from  arrested".

According to the monitoring network at the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, the number of wounded and injured in Basra was at least 107 demonstrators, in addition to two killed by the Iraqi security forces, which used the entire force against peaceful demonstrators.

"Videos and eyewitnesses from activists and journalists present at the Basra demonstrations demonstrate that there is systematic and uniform behaviour among the security services to suppress demonstrations and raise the level of violence in them," the observatory said.

"Some officers in the Swat forces were screaming at their soldiers to shoot, and there seemed to be some who would have refused, but the orders would have brought them not to hesitate," An activist from Basra who refused to give her name for fear of arrest, said during an interview with the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights.

"I saw near the Basra provincial council that one of the soldiers was condoning shooting at demonstrators' feet or towards them and was firing in the air, but an officer ordered him to shoot under their feet to frighten them," she added.

 

Najaf: Two killed in front of parties headquarters and third died of tear gas

 

In Najaf, the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said that three of the demonstrators were killed during their participation in the protests taking place in the province since the beginning of July, because of the live firing by the security forces, which was ordered to disperse demonstrations using tear gas that killed one of the demonstrators and two others were killed in front of The headquarters of the political parties.

 

 

According to statistics from the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, 47 demonstrators in Najaf were injured by security forces assaults or as a result of the collision in some areas, including seven people with gunshot wounds, and eight suffocated by riot police use tear gas on 20th of July.

"When we stormed Najaf airport on Friday (13 July), we went to the home of the airport director, Fayed al-Shammari, because he is an active member of the State of Law Coalition, which is led by Nuri al-Maliki," said Ahmed Abbas, a Najaf demonstrator in an interview with the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights.

"When some demonstrators burned his house, his protectors opened fire on demonstrators and killed(Mohammad Hassan Shukr), who was only 25 years old" he added.

A medical source at ِAl-Najaf hospital reported the death of Ali Husain,19-year-old on Friday (20th of July) and the suffocation of nine other demonstrators as a result of the use of tear gas by Iraqi riot forces to disperse the demonstrators.

"Demonstrator Ali Hussain died of tear gas used by the Iraqi riot police near the governorate building and suffocated nine others, but they recovered and all went out on Friday night," the medical source told the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights.

The source also said, "The demonstrator arrived dead at 9:00 pm. The demonstrators carried him by taxi. He arrived late, leading to his death".

Another protestor from Najaf said: "The security forces launched a campaign of arrests that reached 80 detainees on the 17th of July, and then 50 protesters were released after the pressure on the governor and local officials, but the number of detainees quickly increased".

Najaf saw a new wave of arrests and the number reached more than 70 demonstrators as a result of the demonstrations that go out at night and on a daily basis and are still ongoing.

Other activists spoke about a list containing 80 names of activists and prominent demonstrators in Al-Najaf, which distributed by the National Security and Intelligence to the police and security forces to arrest them and chase them on charges of terrorism and vandalism without a judicial order.

 "Such measures mock the state effort to follow activists in demonstrations or social networking sites, indicating that the law has no place in Iraq and that there is a policing state in the shadow that controls the institutions of the Iraqi state"  The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said.

Muthanna: Two killed by security forces fire and another in front of one of the headquarters of the parties

 

In Al-Muthanna province, the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, said that Al-Samawa city, the center of Muthanna province, witnessed violence not less than those in the other southern provinces and Baghdad, where three demonstrators were killed and more than 150 injured due to the use of cruelty by Iraqi security forces. 

"The number of dead demonstrators in Muthanna reached three people, two of them during the demonstration and friction with the security forces after the shooting, and the third in front of the headquarters of the National Wisdom Movement after the demonstrators tried to storm the headquarters where the guards fired at the demonstrators and killed the demonstrator” the head of the Bar Association in Muthanna (Saleh al-Issawi) during an interview with the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said. 

He added that "the number of detainees until (July 17) is 66 detainees from the demonstrators, and the number is decreasing in some cases because some of the detainees were released but the process of arrests continue". 

The head of the bar association also said that "the number of those injured in the demonstrations ranged between 150-175 injured, including two serious cases after being shot on the spine and the other in the head". 

A source in ِAl-Muthanna Health  Department  told the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights that the number of injured was 25 injured, including 3 dead.

 

 

DIWANIYA: One person was killed by guard fire at a partisan headquarters and the activists were being pursued

 

In Diwaniyah province, the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights quoted a security source as saying that "the number of detainees in Diwaniyah reached 55 more detainees, including three detainees, who were guaranteed last week but the judge changed his opinion at the last minute and withdrew their decision to release them".

He added that "on 16th of July security forces conducted a campaign of arrests without judicial orders and the number of detainees reached to 30 demonstrators".

Mohammad al-Mandalawi testified that a demonstrator was shot dead by the guards of the headquarters of the Badr organization of prominent politician Hadi al-Amri. "Last Friday (20th of July), more than an hour after we stood in front of the building, a group of 500 demonstrators marched to the headquarters of the Islamic Dawa party and chanted against the party. The number of party guards was many, but they did not confront the demonstrators" he added.

He also said: "Then we went to the headquarters of the Badr Organization in Al Bustan Street in Al-Jazai’r district, The guards of the headquarters of the Badr Organization were many and spread over the building and were ready for us.When we arrived, they aimed their guns at us and fired at the demonstrators and (Hussain Yousef Hussein Al Shibli) was wounded. I was near him and he was on the ground. No one lifted him. The Civil Defense ambulance was there, but they did not help him and we asked the police car nearby. They also did not respond. We had to rent a taxi.

Muhammad al-Mandalawi continued his testimony. "I took him personally to the emergency room of the Diwaniyah hospital. He was struggling to death and I was fearing of arresting me, I left him and left the hospital a quarter of an hour later".

A demonstrator who was injured during the demonstrations and was detained by Iraqi security forces in the emergency room after being transferred to Diwaniyah Hospital spoke to the Iraqi Human Rights Watch about the details of his arrest:"Last Sunday (15th of July) I went out with the demonstrators to demand our rights and when we arrived at the building of the province, there was friction between demonstrators and security forces. I was close to the security forces. One of the rioters hit me with sticks on my forehead and my nose broke. I lost consciousness. I was taken to the Diwaniyah hospital. I did not know or feel anything except when I was on emergency duty and the doctor and nurses stuck needles in my forehead.

“After I finished my wound, I was transferred to the hospital prison. When I asked why the policeman told me, these are procedures we should take against you because you are infected" The injured demonstrator and detainee, who is afraid to disclose his name from the renewal of the case against him by the officers and ranks of the Swat forces, who filed a lawsuit against him accused of sabotage and assault them said.

He also said, "I was transferred the same day that I was detained from the hospital prison to the Zawra police station, which is near the place where I was injured near the governorate building. There the treatment was bad and the security and intelligence officers brought me many charges of subversion, terrorism and incitement. Two days later, a new suit was brought against me by officers and others that I had beaten them".

"Three days after I was arrested and injured, I was badly hurt and started vomiting. I asked the centre officer to take me to the hospital or reveal any doctor to reassure me, but he refused and took me out of to the park under strict guard in a dry way” he added.

"I am afraid that I will file a lawsuit against the riot police and Swat because they have filed a suit against me and imprisoned me and have been released on bail and not released or acquitted,  And if they know that I have filed a lawsuit against them will return the case against me and may be prosecuted me and I am afraid of it" he told the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights.

Director of Diwaniya Health Department, Dr. Abdul Kadhim al-Asadi said during an interview with the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights that "43 people were injured during the demonstrations, including two of the demonstrators".

 

Dhi Qar: Five demonstrators were wounded by a live bullet

In Dhi Qar province, the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, quoting the Director of Health Dhi Qar said that "the number of injured in general 107 injured, including 82 security forces and 25 demonstrators, including five demonstrators were shot".


Babylon: Death of a demonstrator with tear gas and wounding dozens

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, said that one of the demonstrators died during demonstrations in Babylon because of tear gas or a heart attack, where the cause of his death is not known so far, but he was with the demonstrators.

"We were beaten with sticks and threatened with gunfire, although our demonstrations were peaceful and the security forces were not attacked," said Ahmad al-Fatlawi, a demonstrator from Babil province in an interview with the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights.

He also said: "The security forces did not allow us to demonstrate for a long time, and threaten us every few minutes that they will disperse the demonstration strongly, and this happened and injured a number of demonstrators".

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said that "in addition to the killing of a demonstrator in Babylon, but there are six wounded others were injured during the demonstrations when the Iraqi security forces are working to break the demonstrations by force."

 

Karbala:

In Karbala province, two demonstrators were killed and nine wounded. The number of detainees arrested by Iraqi security forces was unknown.

 

Maysan:

In Maysan province, two demonstrators were killed and 10 injured, while more than 240 demonstrators were arrested. In Wasit, one demonstrator was wounded and 95 others were arrested.

“The caretaker government have to hold those who aggressors accountable for the demonstrators and not violate the law in breaking the demonstrations guaranteed by the Constitution and international covenants” the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said.

According to the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, the authorities must use non-violent means to the extent possible before resorting to the use of force and firearms.

 

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