We call on those states responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq to terminate their illegal and immoral war, and express our solidarity with the Iraqi people in their struggle for peace, justice and self-determination.

In particular, we demand:

  1. An immediate end to the US and UK-led occupation of Iraq;
  2. Urgent action to fully address the current humanitarian crises facing Iraq’s people, including help for the more than three million refugees and displaced persons;
  3. An end to all foreign interference in Iraq's affairs, including its oil industry, so that Iraqis can exercise their right to self-determination;
  4. Compensation and reparations from those countries responsible for war and sanctions on Iraq;
  5. Prosecution of all those responsible for war crimes, human rights abuses, and the theft of Iraq's resources.

We demand justice for Iraq.

This statement was adopted by the Justice for Iraq conference in London on 19th July 2008. We plan to publish this more widely in future. If you would like to add your name to the list of supporters please contact us.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Latest East London News column

UK torture and inhumane treatment: case continues

The British Government may have withdrawn its troops from Iraq but that hasn’t ended our entanglement with that country. Iraqis are still trying to get justice in British courts for the treatment they received at the hands of our soldiers.

On 22nd November, The Guardian reported, “More than 100 Iraqis who were taken prisoner by British troops in the years after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 have won a court battle that could lead to an independent investigation into allegations that they were subjected to serious mistreatment.”

The court of appeal ruled that a police inquiry set up by the Ministry of Defence to look into the issue was fatally compromised because some of its investigators served with a military police unit responsible for detaining the men.

The Ministry accept the Iraqis – most of whom were civilians – have an ‘arguable’ claim that they were tortured or suffered other forms of inhumane treatment. There have also been allegations that a number of men were unlawfully killed while in British military custody.

The most high-profile case to come before the UK courts was that of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi hotel worker who was beaten to death by British soldiers in 2003. An official report into the killing in September found “grave and shameful errors” in the conduct of British soldiers. Banned interrogation techniques were routine.

The Government has already paid out millions of pounds in compensation. It has also said that it plans to continue two controversial techniques. The first is hooding a detainee in sandbags. Human rights lawyer Phil Shiner wrote  recently: “Forcing a person into a sandbag (or two), especially in hot conditions, is cruel, barbaric and medically dangerous. It increases inhalation of carbon dioxide, makes it difficult to radiate heat from the head and induces panic and disorientation.”

The second technique is “harshing” - where a detainee is screamed at and abused at a range of six inches, in order to instil absolute fear and panic. This too is now likely to be challenged in the courts.

The Government’s clear commitment to these techniques underlines that the mistreatment of detainees may be much more than just a few “bad apples”.

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