Baghdad, Iraq – The Iraqi government has confirmed severe allegations of human rights abuses, including torture and extortion, against an anti-corruption committee known as Committee 29. This committee was formed during the tenure of former Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and was found to have used extreme methods of torture, including sexual violence, to extract confessions from former Iraqi officials and businessmen .
Committee 29 was established by former Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in 2020 with the aim of investigating major corruption cases in Iraq. The committee was headed by Lt Gen Ahmed Abu Ragheef, a senior intelligence and investigations officer in the Ministry of Interior. The committee made several high-profile arrests of senior government officials and businessmen accused of corruption.
Committee 29’s Actions
Instead of adhering to lawful methods, Committee 29 resorted to inhumane practices to extract confessions. The victims were subjected to physical torture, such as beatings and electric shocks, as well as psychological torture through prolonged periods of incommunicado detention4. Moreover, there were reports of sexual violence being used as a method of torture. The victims were often forced to sign pre-written confessions under duress .
Investigation and Findings
A nine-month investigation by The Washington Post revealed that Committee 29 had used incommunicado detention, torture, and sexual violence to extract confessions from senior Iraqi officials and businessmen . The report relied on interviews with several of the detainees, their family members, as well as Iraqi and Western officials.
In response to these shocking revelations, the current Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani, formed a special investigative committee to probe the allegations and complaints against Committee 29 . The investigative committee worked for six months and met 38 times .
Government spokesman Basim Al Awadi announced that the investigation found “shortcomings and human rights violations” and recommended sending the file and all investigation papers to the judiciary for further action .
The following are screenshots of the nvestigation Papers issued by the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) and was published online.
The Iraqi government has sent nine senior officers from the interior ministry to immediate retirement and court proceedings for alleged human rights abuses against civilians . This includes Lt. Gen. Ahmed Taha Hashim, who headed Committee 29 . The government has also approved administrative punishments against staff members who did not report the violations .
The revelations and subsequent actions by the Iraqi government have drawn international attention. The U.S. State Department and the United Nations have previously reported on significant human rights violations in Iraq, including torture and inhumane treatment.
Victims and Forms of Torture
The investigation into Committee 29 revealed that the victims were subjected to a range of horrific forms of torture. These included physical torture, such as beatings and electric shocks, as well as psychological torture through prolonged periods of incommunicado detention. Moreover, there were reports of sexual violence being used as a method of torture to extract confessions from the detainees. The victims were often forced to sign pre-written confessions under duress .
Among the victims were: Jawad Abdul-Kadhim Alwan, Saad Jamil Howaidi, Shakir Al-Zamly, Ali Jarallah ,Bahaa Abdul Hadi, Raad Al-Hares, Nawfal Hamadi Al-Sultan, Ahmad Abdul Jalil , Bahaa Al-Din Al-Jourani, Jamal Al-Karbouli, Ali Salah Hadi and Qassim Hamoud Mansour Alzerjawi. Alzerjawi passed away in a hospital after being detained by the committee.
The families of the victims have been left devastated, and the impact of the torture on the victims themselves is immeasurable. The revelations have brought to light the grave human rights abuses that occurred under the guise of an anti-corruption campaign, and the importance of ensuring accountability and justice for the victims and their families.
The actions taken by the Iraqi government signal a commitment to addressing human rights abuses and corruption. However, the case of Committee 29 highlights the severe human rights abuses that occurred under the guise of an anti-corruption campaign, and the importance of ensuring accountability and justice for the victims and their families.
- Rudaw.net, “Iraqi investigation committee confirms allegations of Kadhimi-era allegations of torture, extortion” 1 2 3 4 5
- The New Arab,”Iraqi gov’t sends Kadhimi’s ‘Committee 29’ to trial” 2 3 4 5
- Rudaw.net, “PM Sudani approves penalties regarding Kadhimi-era abuse allegations” 2 3 4
- The Washington Post, “A U.S. ally in Iraq vowed to tackle corruption. Torture and extortion followed.” 2 3
- The National News, “Iraq set to take action against security officials over torture and extortion claims” 1 2 3 4
- Aljazeera, “تحقيق أميركي يفجر معلومات صادمة عن لجنة “أبو رغيف” بالعراق المعنية بمكافحة الفساد” . r 1 2 3 4