(New York, July 3, 2007) – Kurdistan security forces in northern Iraq routinely torture and deny basic due-process rights to detainees, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch urges the Kurdistan Regional Government to end torture and ill-treatment of detainees in the custody of the security services. The Kurdish authorities should treat all detainees according to international standards and ensure their right to due process and fair trials.
The 58-page report, “Caught in the Whirlwind: Torture and Denial of Due Process by the Kurdistan Security Forces,” documents widespread and systematic mistreatment and violations of due process rights of detainees at detention facilities by Kurdistan security forces. The report is based on research conducted in Iraq’s Kurdistan region from April to October 2006, including interviews with more than 150 detainees.
Human Rights Watch raised its concerns with leaders of the Kurdistan government, including President Mas`ud Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government, who created a government committee to carry out inspection visits to several detention facilities in early October 2006.