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My husband is being tortured in Baghdad jail, says London Iraqi

Miranda Bryant


Plea: Rabiha al-Qassab with a picture of her husband Ramzi Shehab Ahmad

September 13, 2010

A woman from north-west London has asked David Cameron to help her husband who she claims has suffered months of torture in an Iraqi prison.

Rabiha al-Qassab, 63, who lives in Kilburn, said she worries "every minute of every day" about her husband Ramzi Shehab Ahmad, 68, who is being held without trial in Baghdad.

She claims that he has been suffocated, given electric shocks, beaten and hit with iron rods since he was arrested and imprisoned without charge in the Iraqi capital last year.

"I think the British Government can do many things," she said. "They can tell Nouri al-Maliki [the Iraqi prime minister] about what has happened, not because my husband is British but because he is a human being."

A report released today by Amnesty International claims that more than 30,000 Iraqis are being held without trial in prisons across Iraq. The human rights group said that many of the prisoners are subjected to physical and mental abuse.

Mr Shehab Ahmad, a former officer in the old Iraqi army, was forced to leave Iraq in 1992 after he was involved in a plot to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

He and his wife moved to London in 2002 and later gained British citizenship. But in November last year Mr Shehab Ahmad returned to Iraq after one of his sons was arrested in the northern city of Mosul.

Within days they were both arrested on suspicion of terrorism and taken to Muthana airport in Baghdad where they were allegedly tortured. Mrs al-Qassab said their heads were covered with plastic bags until they nearly passed out, and they were given electric shocks, beaten and attacked with iron rods.

They were moved to a different prison in April, but neither of the men has been charged with any crime. No family visits are permitted.

Mrs al-Qassab has only been able to speak to her husband twice by mobile phone and says he has lost lots of weight. She said the justice system in Iraq is now worse than it was during Saddam's rule, adding: "I am asking God to help us."

Amnesty International's spokesman Malcolm Smart, said: "The Iraqi authorities have signally failed to take effective action to stop torture and punish the perpetrators, despite overwhelming evidence of its use."

The US military has moved thousands of detainees to Iraqi-run detention centres in the past two years as their combat troops have left.

:: Article nr. 69737 sent on 14-sep-2010 16:49 ECT


Link: www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23877150-british-man-tortured-and-held-w

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