In Iraq, the protests continue.
Dr. Abbas Kadhim feels they should have more concrete calls -- or at least calls for certain Cabinet ministers to resign.
Meanwhile, the protests continue.
Soaring unemployment fuels protests in southern Iraq http://www.latimes.com/sns-bc-ml--iraq-unemployment-20180726-story.html … #No_for_assassination_in_Iraq #Save_the_Iraqi_people
If anyone's confused about the protests, please note it is 117 degrees Fahrenheit right now in Basra. And there's an electricity shortage throughout Iraq. Arwa Ibrahim (ALJAZEERA) reports:
For Um Adil, the worst part about the chronic electricity cuts in Iraq is having to cope with relentless summer highs of 48 degrees Celsius under an aluminium roof, without a source of cool air.
The 42-year-old mother of four, lives in Shawaka, a working-class neighbourhood in central Baghdad, and says that life has become increasingly difficult as summers become hotter, while the power supply in her home becomes less.
"The worst part is the [summer] heat," says Um Adil, who explains that she only receives two to four hours of electricity a day.
There's also a water shortage and that's destroyed plans for summer crops. It is effecting livestock as well.
These farmers in Iraq are desperate to save their animals from dying of thirst during a severe drought.
Today, the US Defense Dept announced:
Strikes in Iraq
There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq between July 27-29.
On July 26 in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement on ISIS targets near Rutbah. The strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS pickup truck.
There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on July 25.
On July 24, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of two engagements against ISIS targets near Makhmur. The strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.
There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on July 23.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is executing an a large number of people -- many are accused of being terrorists. Human Rights Watch issued an alert today which includes:
Iraq’s judges routinely fail to investigate security forces credibly alleged to have tortured terrorism suspects, Human Rights Watch said today. Judges also frequently ignore allegations of torture and convict defendants based on confessions that defendants credibly allege were coerced.
Concern around the use of torture by the Iraqi security forces has increased considerably since the government’s mass arrests of thousands of Islamic State (also known as ISIS) suspects. Although Iraq is a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture, it has no laws or guidelines directing judicial action when defendants allege torture or mistreatment.
“Torture is rampant in Iraq’s justice system, yet judges lack instructions for responding to torture allegations,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Defendants, including ISIS suspects, won’t be able to get a fair trial so long as the security forces can freely torture people into confessing.”
Human Rights Watch reviewed files of 30 cases tried by Baghdad courts between 2009 and 2018 in which defendants alleged torture, and in June and July 2018, sat in on 18 felony trials of ISIS suspects in Baghdad. All of the cases but one were brought under Iraq’s counterterrorism law, which can carry a death sentence. In 22 of the cases, judges refused to respond in any way to the allegations of torture. In several cases, the judge ordered a forensic medical examination and found signs of torture, but did not necessarily order a retrial or investigation and prosecution of the abusive officers.
Iraqi authorities have long relied on confessions obtained through torture to achieve convictions. In 2014, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) reported that “judges regularly fail to take any action when defendants raised allegations before the court that they had been subjected to torture in order to force confessions in relation to the crimes for which they were standing trial.”
Iraq’s Constitution prohibits “all forms of psychological and physical torture and inhumane treatment.” Furthermore, “any confession made under force, threat, or torture shall not be relied on, and the victim shall have the right to seek compensation for material and moral damages incurred in accordance with the law.” The Criminal Procedure Code also prohibits the use of “mistreatment, threats, injury, enticement, promises, psychological influence or use of drugs or intoxicants” to extract a confession.
However, the Criminal Procedure Code gives judges full discretion to determine whether a defendant’s confession is admissible, even if the defendant repudiates it. The procedure code also gives officials effective immunity from prosecution, by requiring approval from the “responsible minister” to refer the accused official for trial.
Human Rights Watch spoke with three senior judges and five private defense lawyers in Baghdad. The lawyers said that, in the absence of laws or guidelines regarding allegations of torture, under the constitutional ban on torture, the judge should order a forensic medical examination to determine whether the defendant was tortured. If so, the judge should transfer the defendant from the custody of the offending officer, dismiss the confession, and order a retrial, as required under Iraq’s 2016 Amnesty Law.
But judges rarely ordered forensic medical examinations to investigate torture, the lawyers said. And when judges ordered a forensic report, they rarely ordered a retrial.
Lawyers also said that they rarely had any success when they tried to invoke the amnesty law in terrorism cases to obtain a retrial when suspects alleged torture. In an exceptional case, a lawyer said he was able to get a detainee released using the amnesty law because the victim’s family testified on behalf of the defendant that security forces had arrested the wrong man.
Judges have also failed to transfer defendants from the custody of accused officers, the lawyers said. Any defendant who testifies in court that their interrogators tortured them is at risk of being tortured again when returned to prison to face the same guards.
Article 123 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that a detained suspect has the right to a lawyer within 24 hours of their arrest. But the security forces do not bring suspects before an investigative judge within 24 hours of arrest, as required by law, lawyers said, increasing the likelihood of torture. They estimated that terrorism suspects in Baghdad typically only saw a judge between 10 and 20 days after arrest, but that some detainees waited months or even years to be brought to court. The lawyers interviewed also said that they had never been allowed to attend a client’s interrogation in a terrorism case, increasing detainees’ susceptibility to torture.
One consequence of the significant delays in appearance in court is that a forensic medical report, which a judge orders, may be unable to document the torture. In a 2014 case, a forensic report noted nine scars on the detainee’s body, but concluded that, “The scars were inflicted more than six months ago and therefore cannot be identified.”
Concerns that judges ignore claims of torture extend beyond Baghdad courts, Human Rights Watch said. In Nineveh governorate, which contains the city of Mosul, a judge told Human Rights Watch in July 2017 that “many” ISIS suspects alleged torture in court and that he ordered a medical examination in each case – though he provided no details on the outcomes and conceded he never investigated or sanctioned their interrogators. In July 2018, six lawyers at the Nineveh counterterrorism court told Human Rights Watch that while allegations of torture by defendants were common, they knew of no case in which an interrogator had been investigated.
Judicial authorities should investigate all credible allegations of torture and the security forces responsible, Human Rights Watch said. Judges should order transfers of detainees to different facilities immediately after they allege torture or ill-treatment, to protect them from retaliation.
Iraq’s High Judicial Council should issue guidelines on the steps judges are obliged to take when a defendant alleges being tortured in custody. Parliament should pass the draft Anti-Torture Law, which would require judges to order a medical examination of any detainee alleging torture within 24 hours of learning of the allegation. As it currently stands, the draft law provides criminal sanctions for the torturer as well as their commander; says that judges should dismiss all evidence obtained through torture; removes the torturer from the case; and requires officials to allow detainees to have their lawyer present throughout the investigative period.
“When judges convict based on coerced confessions and disregard allegations of torture, they are sending a message to the security forces that torture is a valid investigative tool,” Fakih said. “The Iraqi government needs to do much more to ensure that criminal investigations are genuine and impartial and that officers who torture detainees are appropriately prosecuted.”
Changing topics, PROJECT CENSORED's Nolan Higdon is drawing attention to this video, so let's include it:
2018-07-26 Project Censored from Sergio Lub on Vimeo.
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, LATINO USA, BLACK AGENDA REPORT and THE GUARDIAN -- updated: