Covering events from January - December
Head of state and
Population: 23.1 million
Death penalty: retentionist
Hundreds of people, among them political prisoners
including possible prisoners of conscience, were executed. Hundreds of
suspected political opponents, including army officers suspected of
planning to overthrow the government, were arrested and their fate and
whereabouts remained unknown. Torture and ill-treatment were widespread
and new punishments, including beheading and the amputation of the tongue,
were reportedly introduced. Non-Arabs, mostly Kurds, continued to be
forcibly expelled from their homes in the Kirkuk area to Iraqi
sanctions, imposed by UN Security Council resolutions following Iraq's
invasion of Kuwait in 1990, contributed to a deteriorating economic and
humanitarian situation. Many governments and non-governmental
organizations criticized the sanctions. In February, two senior UN
officials, the head of the humanitarian program in Iraq and the head of
the World Food Programme in Iraq, resigned over concerns about their
impact. From August until the end of the year many countries, including
France and the Russian Federation, sent flights carrying humanitarian aid
to Iraq, in most cases with the approval of the UN Security Council
The government of Iraq
continued to reject UN Resolution 1284, adopted in December 1999. This
established a new arms inspection body, the UN Monitoring, Verification
and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), and provided for the lifting of
sanctions if the government allowed arms inspections to be
Air strikes by US and United Kingdom
(UK) forces against Iraqi targets continued, reportedly resulting in
further civilian deaths. According to Iraqi government figures, around 300
people have been killed since the air strikes began in December
In March a new parliament was elected. All
165 candidates of the ruling Ba'ath Party were elected, including 'Uday
Saddam Hussain, the President's eldest son. The remaining 55 seats were
won by pro-government independent candidates and a further 30 deputies
were appointed by the government to represent Iraqi Kurdistan, two
provinces in northern Iraq ruled by Kurdish political parties and which
are not under central government control.
April the UN Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution condemning
the ''systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human
rights and international humanitarian law by the Government of Iraq'' and
extended for a further year the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on
The large-scale application of the death penalty continued.
Hundreds of people, including possible prisoners of conscience, were
executed. The victims included army officers suspected of having links
with the Iraqi opposition abroad or plotting to overthrow the government
and Shi'a Muslims suspected of anti-government activities. In many cases
it was impossible to determine whether the executions were judicial or
extrajudicial, given the secrecy surrounding them.
- In February, 38 Republican Guard officers were
executed. They were arrested in January, reportedly after a failed
attempt to assassinate the President. Those executed included General
'Abd al-Karim Hussain al-Dulaimi, head of the Republican Guard's second
- A Jordanian national, Dawud Salman al-Dallu, was
executed in Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad in June after being convicted
of espionage. He had been detained since 1993. The date and details of
his trial were not known.
- Seven employees at the government's Central Computer
Department were executed in July on charges of treason. They reportedly
imported a computer system that could be used to send data
- 'Ali Hassan, 'Ali Kamal, Hamid Na'im, all officers in
the Republican Guard and originally from southern Iraq, were arrested in
Baghdad in January, reportedly on suspicion of contact with an Iraqi
opposition group abroad. They were sentenced to death and executed by
firing squad in September.
dozens of women accused of prostitution were beheaded without any judicial
process in Baghdad and other cities. Men suspected of procurement were
also beheaded. The killings were reportedly carried out in the presence of
representatives of the Ba'ath Party and the Iraqi Women's General Union.
Members of Feda'iyye Saddam, a militia created in 1994 by 'Uday Saddam Hussain, used swords to
execute the victims in front of their homes. Some victims were reportedly
killed for political reasons.
- Dr Najat Mohammad Haydar, an obstetrician in Baghdad,
was beheaded in October after being accused of prostitution. However,
she was reportedly arrested before the introduction of the policy to
behead prostitutes and was said to have been critical of corruption
within the health services.
- In October several women were beheaded in Mosul in
northern Iraq. They included Fatima 'Abdallah 'Abd al-Rahman, Shadya
Shaker Mahmoud and Iman Qassem Ahmad.
Political prisoners and
detainees were subjected to brutal forms of torture. The bodies of many of
those executed had visible signs of torture, including the gouging out of
the eyes, when they were returned to their families. Common methods of
physical torture included electric shocks or cigarette burns to various
parts of the body, pulling out of fingernails, rape, long periods of
suspension by the limbs, beating with cables, falaqa (beating on the soles of the feet)
and piercing of hands with an electric drill. Psychological torture
included threats to arrest and harm relatives of the detainee or to rape a
female relative in front of the detainee, mock executions and long periods
in solitary confinement.
Amputation of the
tongue was reportedly approved by the authorities in mid-2000 as a new
penalty for slander or abusive remarks about the President or his
- In June Najib al-Salihi, a former army general who fled
Iraq in 1995 and joined the Iraqi opposition, was sent a videotape
showing the rape of a female relative. Shortly afterwards he reportedly
received a telephone call from the Iraqi intelligence service, asking
him whether he had received the gift and informing him that his relative
was in their custody.
- In September a man reportedly had his tongue amputated
by members of Feda'iyye Saddam in Baghdad for slandering the President. He was said to have
been driven around after the punishment while information about his
alleged offence was broadcast through a
Arrests of suspected
During the year hundreds of
people were arrested; their fate and whereabouts remained unknown. Those
targeted included Shi'a Muslims suspected of anti-government activities
and army officers accused of links with opposition groups abroad or
planning to overthrow the government.
- At least 42 Republican Guard officers were arrested in
April, reportedly in connection with an attempt to overthrow the
government. Among them were Colonel Hashim Jassem Majid, Colonel Falah
al-Din Yusuf and Lieutenant-Colonel 'Ali Soltan Mohammad.
- In October scores of Shi'a Muslim religious activists
were arrested in Baghdad. They included al-Shaikh Khaled Hassan
al-Dulaimi, al-Shaikh Mas'ud Hamam 'Abdallah and Sa'ad Mahmoud
Forcible expulsion of
Non-Arabs in the Kirkuk region,
mainly Kurds but also Turkmen and Assyrians, continued to be expelled to
Iraqi Kurdistan. Thousands have been deported in recent years because of
their ethnic origin and Kirkuk's strategic location and oil resources. The
government encouraged Arabs living in government-controlled areas to move
to Kirkuk, and allocated land confiscated from deportees to security
- In October, 78 members of 10 families were expelled to
the area controlled by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). One
member of each family was detained until the deportation was
At the end of 1999 a new regional
government in the area controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)
included members of four other political parties. In February, in the area
controlled by the PUK, the PUK contested municipal elections with 12 other
political groups, winning control of 53 out of 58 councils while the
remaining five were taken by Islamist parties.
1997 cease-fire between the KDP and the PUK remained in force. In February
the two parties recommitted themselves to the implementation of the 1998
Washington peace agreement. The KDP released
11 PUK prisoners of war in February and allowed 30 pro-PUK families
to return to PUK-controlled Kurdistan. In September the KDP agreed to
withdraw its militias from towns under its control. In November both
parties agreed to allow the free movement of citizens and the free
circulation of printed materials.
dissidents were believed responsible for at least a dozen bomb attacks on
civilian targets during the year in both areas of Kurdistan. In June, 20
people were reportedly injured when a car bomb exploded in Sulaymania. In
November, six people were killed and 17 injured in an explosion in
Clashes between forces of the two ruling
parties and members of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) left scores dead,
including between KDP forces and PKK rebels in July and between PUK and
PKK forces in September and October when dozens reportedly
In March thousands of Turkish government
troops entered Iraqi Kurdistan in pursuit of PKK forces. In August air
strikes targeting the PKK resulted in 38 civilians killed and 11 injured.
The Turkish authorities reportedly launched an investigation and paid
compensation to the victims.
- Students who set up an independent union, the Free
Students and Youth Union, in 1999 were reportedly targeted for arrest in
the area controlled by the PUK. Of 11 students arrested in January, nine
were released days or weeks afterwards. It was not known whether the
remaining two, Hussain Alek Ahmad and Khaled Khidir Babeker, were still
held at the end of 2000.
- In March, five people reportedly appeared on television
in the KDP-controlled area and confessed to their involvement in bomb
attacks and killings since 1997. Four of them were said to be members of
the Islamic Movement in Iraqi Kurdistan. Their fate was unknown.
- In July the authorities in PUK-controlled Sulaymania
briefly detained scores of people, including supporters of the Iraqi
Workers' Communist Party (IWCP) and the Independent Women's Organization
(IWO). They had protested against orders to cease their activities and
the cutting of their electricity and water supplies. The PUK informed AI
that political party headquarters were moved out of residential areas as
a safety measure against their becoming targets of armed opposition
- Also in July, PUK security forces arrested women
sheltering at an IWO refuge in Sulaymania for women abused by their
relatives and closed the refuge. Most were released in the days
following but the whereabouts of 12 women and five children, who had
been at the refuge and were feared arrested, remained unknown at the end
of the year.
- In October Hiwa Ahmad, a leading IWCP member, was
arrested in Sulaymania by members of the PUK security service,
Dezgay Zanyari. At the
end of 2000 his whereabouts were still
Reports of political killings
continued to be received.
- In Arbil, in KDP-controlled Iraqi Kurdistan, Sirbit
Mahmud, leader of the Democratic Nationalist Union of Kurdistan, and
Osman Hassan, a parliamentary deputy, were killed by unidentified gunmen
in June and July respectively.
- Four IWCP members - 'Abdul Basit Muhsin, Mohammad
Mustafa, Ibrahim Mohammad Rostam and Hawri Latif - and Omid Nikbin, a
member of the opposition Iranian Workers' Communist Party, were killed
by PUK security forces in July. The PUK said that their car had failed
to stop at a checkpoint, that they had shot and injured two people, and
that they were shot dead when the security forces returned fire. No
information about an investigation announced by the PUK was available at
the end of 2000.
the government and the Kurdish authorities
raised specific concerns with the Iraqi government and leaders of the KDP
and PUK. In January the Iraqi government criticized AI's position on
sanctions and for not condemning US and UK air strikes strongly enough,
but did not address specifically AI's concerns detailed in a 1999 report.
In a letter to AI in September, the government said it could identify only
one individual from the victims cited in the Amnesty International Report 2000 and that
the person was living in Syria.
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