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HRW denounces that Iraqi security forces continue to use lethal force against protesters

December 4, 2019
Imagen de protestas en Irak.

Image of protests in Iraq. – REUTERS / ALAA AL-MARJANI

MADRID, Dec. 4 (EUROPE PRESS) –

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has denounced that Iraqi security forces have continued to use lethal force against protesters in the country, despite the order of the acting Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, in the opposite direction for what he has requested urgent measures to end this situation.

Thus, from the organization they have recalled that the Iraqi Parliament accepted Abdul Mahdi's resignation due to the demonstrations that were taking place in the country. They have also stressed that the contrast between their claims and the increase in the number of deaths in protests, especially in the southern part of the country, have raised concerns that the Government is “unable to control” the abusive use of force.

“The government needs to end the illegal deaths and explain why it cannot control its own forces,” said HRW director for the Middle East, Sarah Leah Whitson.

At this point, HRW recalled that a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on November 29 that at least 354 people have died and 8,104 have been injured in the protests that began in Iraq last 1 October. In addition, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, condemned the use of weapons against protesters in the country.

On the other hand, the NGO has referred to the death of at least 16 protesters in Najaf on November 28, to which three more are added the next day. He has also denounced that security forces opened fire on protesters, after burning the Iranian consulate in Najaf.

In addition and also on November 28, they have pointed out that the Emergency Response Division of the Ministry of Interior opened fire on unarmed protesters who were sitting in Nasiriyah, where they killed at least 25 people and 160 were injured.

RECOMMEND TO INVESTIGATE THE OFFICIALS IN CHARGE

On the other hand, the NGO has detailed that so far there have been two prosecutions of security officers. Specifically, local media reported that an Iraqi officer was sentenced to death for the death of protesters in Wasit, southeast of Baghdad, and that another was sentenced to seven years in prison.

“Human Right Watch opposes the death penalty in all countries and under all circumstances,” said the NGO and added that security officers must be investigated.

They have also claimed that according to a letter sent by the Beirut Embassy to the NGO, Adel Abdul Mahdi had recommended banning the use of ammunition against protesters “under all circumstances” and that he had ordered the security forces to disarm as well. like he had instructed them to be “patients” with the protesters.

However, from the organization they have assured that what is said in the letter contradicts the events that have occurred in cities such as Najaf, Nasiriya, Basra, Muthanna or Baghdad, where they have assured that military and security forces have opened fire on people They were protesting in the streets. “The government must clarify to the Iraqi population if the security forces have ignored the prime minister's orders,” they said from HRW.

“EVERY DEATH MUST BE INVESTIGATED”

Therefore, HRW has argued that if the security forces have acted against the orders of the Government, the Executive should condemn the “illegal deaths” of protesters and refer these cases to justice to investigate what happened.

“The authorities must investigate every death committed by the security forces,” the organization has claimed, for which it is necessary to have the help of international experts if necessary. “These researchers must be quick, fair and independent,” he said.

Finally, HRW has assured that the Government of Iraq has decided to “hide” behind its claims by ensuring that they have ordered the killings to stop, but has maintained that as long as this Government remains in power it is “responsible” for what is happening. .