Press Release: IHRC deplores continued abuses by occupation soldiers in Iraq

Press Release: IHRC deplores continued abuses by occupation soldiers in Iraq

23 December 2004

IHRC deplores continued abuses by occupation soldiers in Iraq.

Islamic Human Rights Commission

IHRC deplores the continued human rights abuses being committed by occupation forces in Iraq. Yesterday it emerged that a US national guardsman confessed to killing a teenage Iraqi soldier after raping him in May 2004. Private Federico Daniel Merida was later sentenced to 25 years imprisonment by a court martial in September. IHRC condemns this heinous crime as an affront to humanity.

Fahad Ansari, a spokesman for IHRC, stated:

“This is sickening! If this is how the US troops treat their allies, we can only imagine the contempt with which they treat those they believe to be their enemies. In fact, we no longer need to imagine; the images of Abu Ghraib and other US detention centres continue to haunt us today.”

IHRC notes that this is not the first incident or indeed the act of a rogue element within the occupying American army. Similar incidents have been frequently occurring throughout Iraq for the past 17 months. Moreover, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) this week revealed emails suggesting that “inhumane interrogation methods” used in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay were approved by President Bush.

IHRC also condemns the consistent pattern of abuse by US soldiers in Iraq and the lack of transparency in the investigation of such abuses as revealed by the ACLU. In one such case, a US soldier was simply discharged from the army for manslaughter rather than charged with murder for shooting an unarmed Iraqi prisoner in September 2003, despite the fact that an Army investigation found sufficient evidence to bring a murder charge. There was no explanation as to why a murder charge was not brought. Furthermore, in at least a dozen cases in which the Army investigated deaths of prisoners in US custody, the causes of death were determined to be natural.

IHRC is deeply concerned at the regularity with which the US soldiers are breaching international law with regards to the execution of unarmed civilians and wounded soldiers. Just last week, a US army officer, Captain Rogelio Maynulet, was arraigned on charges of dereliction of duty for assault with intent to commit murder after executing a wounded Iraqi in May 2004. Earlier this month, Staff Sergeant Johnny Horne Jr. was sentenced to three years imprisonment for killing a severely wounded Iraqi teenager. In November 2004, the world witnessed the execution of the unarmed wounded sheikh of a mosque in Fallujah by US troops.

IHRC realises that this practice is not new but one which has been regularly occurring throughout the occupation of Iraq. In September and December 2003, footage was broadcast around the world of two separate incidents in which wounded Iraqis were ruthlessly executed by US troops who subsequently celebrated and cheered. One of those involved subsequently gave an interview to CNN, aired on 26 October 2003, in which he expressed his remorse: “I mean, afterwards you’re like, Hell yeah, that was awesome, let’s do it again.”

For more information please contact,

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183