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"Iraq Is Now Worse Than It Was Under Saddam"

''IRAQ IS NOW WORSE THAN IT WAS UNDER SADDAM,''
Iraqi Witness at the World Tribunal on Iraq

*Istanbul, 26th June 2005 - *Witnesses of the ongoing atrocities in Iraq testified before the Jury of Conscience at the World Tribunal on Iraq on the second day of the Tribunal. Their exposure of the impact of this war on Iraqis revealed a country that is facing worse conditions than under Saddam Hussein. In the words of Amal Sawadi, an Iraqi lawyer working for the defenceless in Iraq, ' Atrocities existed under Saddam Hussein but, unfortunately, things are now much worse.'

Further testimonies to the human rights violations occuring in Iraq on a daily basis were also given by writer and journalist Hana Ibrahim, Eman Khammas who is a human rights activist based in Baghdad and journalist Fadhil Al Bedrani who witnessed the last assault on Fallujah.

They spoke about the illegal detention of citizens, tens of thousands of Iraqi people who are missing, the ongoing torture in prisons, the kidnapping and raping of women and the constant fear that now forms part of the daily life of Iraqi people.

'Snipers hunt people in the streets. People attempting to go to health centers are shot at. There are many crippled children. There are thousands of widows and orphans. There are no police for security and there are no courts. Even hospitals are occupied and bombed and burned. In Falluja and other places American troops intentionally burnt down the hospitals,' said Eman Khammas.

Tim Goodrich who was deployed to Saudi Arabia with U.S. troops until he joined the ranks of anti war protesters gave the Tribunal detailed insight into how the U.S. military functions: 'To summarize, despite the war being illegal under international law and being based on lies, there are many other factors which contribute to military misconduct in Iraq. Among these are poor intelligence, lack of training, the stress of fighting in a guerilla war, and finally, the lack of a mission and clearly defined goals after the fall of Baghdad. Coupled with the fact that military culture already has many problems with racism, ignorance, stereotypes, and dehumanization, this clearly shows that the best solution is an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraqi soil.'

In an emotional protest yesterday, the people from Iraq attending the Tribunal unfolded a banner with the faces of children who have been killed in Iraq. A father of one of these children was among those present. Iraqi artists are also exhibiting paintings on Abu Ghraib prison at Darphane-i Amire, Topkapı Palace Grounds, where the World Tribunal on Iraq is in its final day of hearings (1).

At a press conference to be held tomorrow at 11 am at the Hotel Armada, the Jury of Conscience will be announcing the conclusions of the World Tribunal on Iraq. Renowned author and activist Arundathi Roy who is chairing the Jury will be one of the main speakers.

*Notes:*

1. Artists: Abdulkareem Khalil, Salam Omar, Salem Al-Dabbagh, Nadia Mohammed Yass, Fadia Mohammed Yass

*For more information:*

Please visit the WTI web site (www.worldtribunal.org ) for updates and the full speeches of participants attending the Tribunal. Photos are also available

*Contact:*

Tolga Temuge, International Media Coordinator, on +(90) 533 644 4687 or tolga.temuge@worldtribunal.org


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