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Weekly Field Update in Iraq

Amnesty International Weekly Field Update in Iraq

Delegates visited Nassriyah on Monday and Tuesday, in addition to the ongoing investigative work in Basra. While in Nassriyah, delegates collected testimony regarding damage to property and the civilian injury and deaths that occurred during the US assault on the area.

The Amnesty International delegation in Baghdad met informally with international humanitarian NGO representatives.

The delegation met with the Committee of Free Prisoners, human rights activists who are recording abuses under the previous authorities. Committee staff reported that there have been attempts to halt their work. Delegates also met with political party representatives in Iraq.

The staff, many former prisoners, at Iraq's Committee of Free Prisoners, who are indexing data from files preserved from the previous authorities. Working with five PCs, they are building a database consisting of names, nationality, date of birth, date of execution and original file number. They have already indexed files numbering in six figures.

Sample files examined listed large numbers of death sentences, with single files recording the execution sentences imposed on scores of individuals, including children. One file recorded the sentencing to death of 107 individuals.

Concern at limited policing and the resulting lack of public safety were raised by residents. Delegates also collected detailed evidence on a May 14 incident in which one 14-year-old boy was shot and killed by US forces and a second 16-year-old boy was injured and subsequently held in incommunicado detention.

Amnesty International delegates have continued to gather testimony from people alleging ill-treatment at the hands of UK and US forces in the period immediately following their arrest, while in temporary holding centres prior to transfer to the POW camp in Umm Qasr.

Delegates visited Amara to investigate policing and security and visited the General Hospital, where two unclaimed bodies remain in the hospital morgue.

The Directorate of Health in Basra has described to Amnesty International delegates the widespread looting in the aftermath of the conflict, noting that some looting stills happens. When delegates arrived at the Education hospital one morning, there were no guards apparent and no military presence. A gun shot victim admitted as a patient testified that he had been attacked and shot again while in the hospital.

Revenge killings, directed against former Ba'ath party members or as a result of feuding and score-settling continue to be reported to the delegation.

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