Calls for action and accountability have been sparked by the death of a former official,Qassim Hamoud Mansour Alzerjawi , who was detained in Iraq and revealed possible human rights violations in the nation’s anti-corruption drive.
For years, Iraq has struggled with corruption, and the government has been making efforts to address the problem. However, some of these actions have drawn criticism as reports of illegal imprisonment and violations of human rights surfaced. Concerns have been raised concerning the tactics used by Committee 29 in its anti-corruption campaign following a recent event in which a former government official, Qassim Hamoud Mansour Alzerjawi, passed away in a hospital after being detained by the committee.
Details of the Incident
Qassim Hamoud Mansour Alzerjawi was reportedly detained by Committee 29, a task force the Iraqi government set up to look into and prosecute corruption allegations. The official was detained for interrogation, and shortly after that, a medical emergency required that he be brought immediately to the hospital. He, unfortunately, passed away while receiving medical care, which raises concerns regarding the facts surrounding his arrest and the care he received in detention.
On May 7, 2023, Shafaq News reported that Ahmad Abu Ragheef, who led Committee 29, also known as “Committee Abu Ragheef” , is under detention amid accusations of inhumane tactics and corruption.
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Signs of Torture on Qassim Hamoud Mansour Alzerjawi’s body , who died after arrest by ‘Committee 29’ or ‘Abu Ragheef Committee’, before it was declared unconstitutional by Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court
Allegations of Human Rights Abuses in Anti-Corruption Campaign
Human Rights Watch claims that significant human rights violations have plagued the anti-corruption campaign spearheaded by Al-Kadhimi. To coerce admissions of corruption, the study alleges that some high-ranking officials and businessmen were tortured with beatings, electric shocks, and sexual assault.
According to the report, several of these detainees were held without contact with their families or attorneys for months. According to reports, they were denied access to food and drink as well as sensory and sleep deprivation. Sometimes they were threatened with further assault until they signed confessions under duress.
Implications for the Fight Against Corruption in Iraq
In addition to breaking international law, using torture and other abusive methods in the fight against corruption also calls into question the legitimacy of the government’s anti-corruption initiatives. The validity of any evidence gathered through these techniques is called into doubt if the government is willing to utilize such methods to obtain confessions. Also, there is a chance of alienating the very people whose support is necessary for an anti-corruption campaign to be successful.
Incommunicado detention is frequently used, which puts detainees in danger of further torture and prevents them from receiving legal counsel. Incommunicado detainees are more likely to suffer abuse because no one is present to watch over their care or guarantee that their rights are upheld
The Complicity of the US Government
The US government’s role in this predicament is also highlighted in the report. The US government assisted Al-Kadhimi in gaining power, and it has since given Iraq considerable military and financial help. It raises concerns about the US government’s priorities in Iraq since the US has been mainly silent on the subject of human rights violations in the anti-corruption drive.
Call for Action: Accountability and Respect for Human Rights
The Iraqi government must act right away to look into these claims and prosecute individuals culpable of violating human rights. Additionally, the government must guarantee that all detainees get the care that complies with international law and that they have access to both legal counsel and medical attention.
Additionally, the American government must take steps to guarantee that it’s backing of the Iraqi government is contingent on the latter upholding human rights. In the anti-corruption drive, the US government should be clear that it will not accept violations of human rights, and it should withdraw funds if the Iraqi government doesn’t follow human rights norms.
The international community must likewise denounce these violations and call on Baghdad to uphold the human rights of all detainees. In particular, the UN should exert pressure on the Iraqi government to stop using torture and other cruel practices in its anti-corruption drive.
Iraq’s growth and stability depend on the fight against corruption. Nonetheless, this conflict must be handled in conformity with fundamental human rights laws and international law. The legitimacy of the anti-corruption effort is weakened by the use of torture, sexual assault, and incommunicado incarceration, which also increases the likelihood of future destabilization in Iraq. The Iraqi government must respond right away to look into these claims and prosecute individuals liable for violating human rights. Also, the US government and the international community need to exert their influence to urge Iraq to uphold all detainees’ human rights. The only way to successfully and sustainably combat corruption in Iraq is to follow the law and safeguard human rights.
-  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/12/21/iraq-kadhimi-corruption-committee-torture/
-  https://shafaq.com/en/Iraq-News/Iraq-s-PM-all-who-use-torture-during-an-investigation-would-be-held-accountable
-  https://www.chathamhouse.org/2022/10/sadrist-movement-iraq