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Child Prisoners in Iraq Suffering Same Abuse as Adults



December 8, 2007

The existence of minors imprisoned in some Iraqi jails was recently confirmed through IRIN, a project of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

It was known a priori that brutal executions and a thousand forms of horrifying violence would accompany the «democratic» crusade of George W. Bush in Iraq.
I’m not only referring to the startling images that appeared a couple years ago, showing prisoners tortured and humiliated in Abu Ghraib by members of the US armed forces; nor am I alluding to the no less atrocious bombings and cutting down of civilian populations by the occupation armies.

I’m speaking of a form of abuse worse than those on the long list of violations committed during America’s intervention: the imprisoment of children. The UN’s Integrated Regional Information Networks, commonly known as the IRIN news agency, recently confirmed the existence of minors imprisoned in some Iraqi jails.
«They are treated as adults» and subjected to «abuse and torture» during interrogations, reported the news agency.

The investigations began after several families went to a humanitarian organization, Association for Justice for Prisoners (AJP), seeking psychological assistance for their children who had just been released from jail.

This case involved five minors, between the ages of 13 and 17, who were detained during operations of the Iraqi army in the Baghdad neighborhoods of Adhamiya, Latifiya, Alawi, Dura and Hay al Adel. They were held under the charges of supporting the insurgency.

«The five children showed signs of torture on their bodies. Three of them had cigarette burns on their legs and one could not speak because the shock sessions had affected his capacity for conversation,» parents bemoaned.

Torture and Abuse

As specified by international law, children that have been arrested should remain in that situation for the shortest possible time, held in a special place separate from adults, and receive special treatment. However, these pacts —we know— only serve to file files in the White House – not to be put into practice or complied with.

Despite the fact that the Interior Ministry of the Mesopotamian country and the occupation army deny these accusations —saying that minors who are held for interrogation are released within 48 hours, without suffering abuse or torture— IRIN affirms that children have remained in prison more than two years, and are mixed in with the adult population.

High-ranking officials of the Iraqi Interior Ministry communicated anonymously to IRIN saying that in each Iraqi jail there are at least 220 children and that they all have been abused.
AJP reported that it has informants in the prisons, but since the organization refuses to release their names, it is impossible to prove the alleged abuses. IRIN has requested permission to visit the prisons where minors are said to be held, but its request has —of course— been rejected.

AJP spokesperson Jalid Rabiaa said that weekly, at least two children and their parents come to his office in search of help. «This is not a political game; they’re young and it’s necessary to respect their rights.» «They are trying to hide the truth, but the reality is that they are there and they need special help before and after their release,» he added.

Source: Yailé Balloqui Bonzón

:: Article nr. 39030 sent on 09-dec-2007 00:12 ECT


Link: www.ahora.cu/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5594

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