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Women prisoners languish in jail without trial

Kareem Zair, Azzaman

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October 8, 2007

A visit to a women prison in a Baghdad neighborhood has revealed that Iraqi authorities are paying lip service to human rights and rule of law.

The visit by Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi found the jail over crowded with many women afflicted with contagious diseases due to lack of medicine and medical care.

"The tour has exposed a difficult and tragic situation in the whole process, starting with detention and ending with the horrific conditions of the prison," a statement by Hashemiĺs office said.

The prison is in the neighborhood of Kadhimiya and is believed to hold mainly Sunni Muslim women.

Many of the prisoners, the statement said, were detained because their husbands or sons were suspected of having links to forces resisting U.S. occupation.

"This means if anything that the women are taken hostages to exert pressure on their husbands who are wanted by the authorities," the statement said.

There were teenage women among the prisoners some of whom had spent several years behind bars, the statement added.

One women prisoner, Suaad Aziz, had told Hashemi that she was arrested while looking for her son who had disappeared for more than one year.

"I was a principal of a school in the Amiriya district of Baghdad. They have sentenced me to death and no one has ever asked me a single question why I was here," the statement reported Aziz as saying.

Thousands of Iraqis languish in scores of prisons in Iraq. U.S. troops have their own jails which they have constructed specifically to detain suspects. Iraqi authorities run their own prisons.

There are more than 30,000 Iraqis in jails run by the U.S. and Iraqi government and most of them have been incarcerated merely on suspicion and held without trial.



:: Article nr. 37018 sent on 08-oct-2007 18:27 ECT

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Link: www.azzaman.com/english/index.asp?fname=news\\2007-10-08\\kurd.htm



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