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Cable 685: Allegations of Serious Human Rights Abuses at Secret Prisons in Kurdistan

Cable 685: Allegations of Serious Human Rights Abuses at Secret Prisons in Kurdistan

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Published by Andres
This is a 2006 US embassy report on allegations of serious human rights violations at secret detention facilities operated by the counter-terrorism security forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq.
This is a 2006 US embassy report on allegations of serious human rights violations at secret detention facilities operated by the counter-terrorism security forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq.

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Published by: Andres on Nov 13, 2011
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05/27/2012

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P 190224Z SEP 06FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDADTO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6970C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD003500SUBJECT: ALLEGATIONS OF SECRET PRISONS IN KURDISTAN
REF: A) BAGHDAD 03318 B) KIRKUK 00135 C) KIRKUK00136 D) KIRKUK 00143Classified By: POLCOUNS MARGRET SCOBEY FOR REASONS1.4 (b) and (d)¶1. (C) Summary. In a September 10 conversation,Kurdish Alliance Council of Representative (CoR)member and Kirkuk resident Muhammed Redha Muhammedclaimed to Emboffs that both the KDP and PUKAsayish (anti-terrorism security forces) maintainsecret detention facilities where they seriouslyabuse detainees. KRG human right officials cannotinspect Asayish facilities. Muhammed furtheralleged that the Asayish often stray from Kurdistaninto Kirkuk and surrounding areas to abductsuspects for interrogation purposes without anarrest warrant. Muhammed is a religious leader whosays that several of his followers have experiencedthis treatment first hand. His allegations areconsistent with several conversations we held inlate August with KRG citizens and governmentleaders. End Summary.
 
----------- Asayish 101-----------
2. (C) According to KDP Ministry of Interiorofficials, the KDP (Erbil/Dohuk) Asayish officiallyreports to the KRG Prime Minister while the PUKAsayish reports to the PUK Ministry of Interior(though unofficially to KRG DPM and PUK member OmarFattah). CoR member Redha claimed that of the twoAsayish entities, he considers the PUK,s(Suleimania) Asayish to be more aggressive in itstactics. The KDP Asayish's intel gathering arm isreferred to as the Parastin while that of the PUKis referred to as the Zanyari. The Asayish andtheir intel arms are feared by local residents.¶3. (C) The Asayish's mandate is anti-terrorism,and as such pursues any suspect that it believesmay be tied to such cause. Our contacts indicatethat there is not a lot of transparency as to thework of the Asayish and their reasons for detainingsuspects, and it is partially for this reason thatthey are feared. Among its targets, the Asayishhas been known to pursue individuals participatingin protests, particularly violent protests, as wellas religious extremists or conservatives. TheKRG's own Minster of Awquf and Religious Affairs(MARA) is geared towards monitoring sermons andother indicators for links to terrorism (ref D).This is in stark contrast from the work of centralIraq Awqufs which are focused on promoting religionand the construction of religious facilities.
 
------------------------------------------------ ALLEGATIONS OF TORTURE IN ASAYISH SECRET PRISONS------------------------------------------------
¶4. (C) On September 10, CoR Religious Committeemember Muhammed Redha Muhammed (Kurdish Alliance)reported to Emboffs that the Asayish were engagingin torture activities in "secret" detentionfacilities. Although Muhammed refrained fromdetailing the torture/abuse, he did elaborate onone recent allegation. Mohammed alleged that a manfrom Suleimaniya was arrested by PUK Asayish anddied two days later while in custody. The Asayishallegedly gave the body back to the family butthreatened the family to prevent them from openingthe coffin. Muhammed further alleged that theAsayish often stray from their legal jurisdictionof Kurdistan into Kirkuk surrounding areas todetain an individual without even an arrest warrant(Ref B and C).¶5. (C) In an unrelated August 26 meeting withseveral residents of Suleimaniya, one Kurdishresident claimed that when his cousin was releasedfrom the Asayish detention facility (described as asmall facility or house structure) in August, hewas so badly injured that he continued to be bed-ridden and unable to talk about his experiences inthe facility. Another Suleimaniya resident claimedthat the Asayish arrested his family memberswithout a warrant, and provided the family noinformation about their location or release datewhile they were in custody.

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