Iraqi women abused in prison

Iraqi security forces have been abusing detained women, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW),

Many of these Iraqi women have been detained illegally as a result of forced confessions and sub-standard trial proceedings, HRW reports. Women are particularly vulnerable to the corrupt justice system because of the second-class status they have in Iraqi society.

The report, entitled “No one is safe: Abuses of women in the Iraqi justice system,” is based on interviews with the women and girls, and their families, medical professionals and lawyers.

HRW spoke to 27 women who reported being abused, including sexual assault. The women also say they were tortured with electric shock and were hung upside down. Feet whipping, a common tactic called falaqa, was also used to torture the women.

Some women were also forced to sign statements and confessions without being allowed to read them. The statements were later used in court to indict them.

The abused detainees were of all religions and classes, but a majority of the 4200 women are of the Sunni sect.

Other abuses of justice revealed in the report are:

  • threats or sexual assault in front of family members
  • random and mass arrests of women because of crimes by male family members
  • detaining or charging women because of their association to other people based on the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2005
  • no access to a lawyer
  • failure to investigate reported abuse
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