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Commission documents rights violations in prisons

Graphic: Exterior of a prison wall, barbed wire

Overcrowded detention centres have resulted in serious illnesses, like scabies, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis, among inmates.

The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) has documented a series of human rights violations in prisons across Nineveh province, Rudaw news service reported.

"We detected a lot of violations and issues during our visit to the intelligence directorate and anti-terror [forces] in Nineveh and the detention centers that belong to it," Ali Mirz al-Shammary, IHCHR deputy head, said in a statement.

Shammary led a visit to Nineveh with the Commission's forensic team. They met with employees of the directorate of intelligence and heard of the difficulties detectives in the directorate face in the cases they receive.

"We have diagnosed multiple issues during our visit," stated Shammary.

Inmates have lost their "human dignity" in overcrowded detention centres where illnesses like scabies, tuberculosis, and viral hepatitis are serious concerns, he said.

Within the intelligence directorate, Shammary highlighted problems of staffing shortages and lack of funds that hinder criminal investigations.

He called on the relevant ministries and departments – the high judicial council, public prosecutor and ministries of the interior, justice, health, and labour and social affairs – to urgently "shoulder their duties".

Necessary steps must be undertaken to end the "plight" of those detained, he said, including providing employees and detectives with sufficient resources to speed up their investigations so cases are handled in a timely manner.

Iraq's prisons are frequently criticized for overcrowding and poor conditions.

"Overcrowding has strained already poorly maintained or out-dated infrastructure, including water, sewerage, ventilation, and other services," the UN said in a report published in July.

"Inmates in government-run detention and prison facilities sometimes lacked adequate food and water. Access to medical care was inconsistent," the US Department of State stated in their annual human rights report on Iraq.

Date: 30 October 2018

Source: Rudaw

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  1. Exterior of a prison wall, barbed wire - APF