Iraq has witnessed a wave of protests demanding the provision of services, improvement of living conditions, job opportunities, and the elimination of unemployment, financial corruption, and administrative corruption within state institutions.
In fact, the country has been ravaged by wars, suffered from deteriorating services, frequent power outages, and drinking water shortages for years.
Hassan Al-Ta’is story begins on June 15th when he was working for a security company in the industrial neighborhood in Kirkuk. A man claiming to be affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) was attempting to break into one of the warehouses that he was assigned to protect. After preventing him from doing so, the man noted down Al Ta’i full name before leaving.
On June 21, 2021 Al – Ta’i found himself arrested by the Federal Police, including the 5th and 3rd divisions, and was taken to questioning. The man he prevented from breaking into the warehouse appeared at the interrogation with two other officers. Al,Ta’i then realized that the man had filed a complaint against him, in which he did not mention his attempt to break into the warehouse. Instead, Al – Ta’i was accused of terrorism and working for ISIS.
Physical torture and psychological intimidation
The victim mentions that after multiple weeks of investigation his statements were recorded by the judge and he was brought back for another 16 days of interrogation, making the total number of interrogation days 37. During this period, he suffered severe forms of torture, including electric shocks, suffocation, handcuffing and being hung outdoors in the scorching sun for several days. This resulted in severe burns on his hands and various parts of his body, eventually leading to the amputation of his fingers.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor documented the detention and torture of the young man, Hassan Al-Ta’i (29 years old), by official security forces at the Intelligence Agency headquarters in Kirkuk province, northern Iraq. This resulted in severe physical deformities and potential long-term psychological complications. Subsequently, his family was forced to sign a “tribal reconciliation” agreement that allowed the perpetrators to evade punishment.
The Mediterranean Observatory received several images and documents showing the severe injuries suffered by Hassan Al-Ta’i as a result from the torture he suffered, particularly burns. They also reviewed medical reports regarding his condition. One of the reports, dated August 8, 2021, from Azadi Teaching Hospital to the Directorate of Intelligence of the Federal Police (Investigative Authority-Kirkuk), stated that the victim suffers from “third-degree burns on the hands, forearms, and scalp, and needs a cleaning and amputation operation on the left palm fingers, but his condition is very advanced due to the lack of a preemptive operation, which led to the emergence of complications.”
On October 30, 2021, the hospital sent the final medical report to the Intelligence Directorate, stating that the detainee has “third-degree burns on the hands and scalp. He underwent the necessary operations, including the amputation of the left palm and severe deformities in the right calf due to a burn on the scalp, and it was determined in the left elbow.”
The officers did not only physically torture Al-Ta’i but also subjected him to organized psychological intimidation. Al-Ta’i informed the Mediterranean Observatory team that he had filed a complaint against the officers involved in his torture with the judicial authorities, but they did not face any disciplinary or criminal actions.
On January 19, 2022, the court sentenced Al-Ta’i to 6 years in prison based on false allegations against him. However, he appealed the decision and obtained a release order on March 22, 2022. Due to a new complaint related to terrorism allegations, Al-Ta’i was not released and remained in prison.
Al-Ta’i remained in detention based on the second complaint until one of the officers approached him and proposed a tribal reconciliation session with the officers involved in his torture. His family was forced to hold a tribal reconciliation session with the officers’ tribes, and just seven days later, he was released from prison on June 28, 2022.
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