Weeks after Iraqi military, aided by U.S. and coalition forces, liberated most of Mosul from Islamic State militants, Iraqi soldiers have been caught brutally torturing their captives suspected of having links with terrorists.
Ali Arkady, a freelance photographer who worked with the elite Emergency Response Division (ERD) in Iraq, caught the Iraqi soldiers brutally abusing their prisoners during the ‘interrogation’ sessions.
Arkady worked alongside Iraqi security forces in covering the events in the Mosul frontline, and was allowed to witness the soldiers extracting confessions from prisoners of war accused of links with terrorists groups in Iraq.
As shown on one video, Iraqi soldiers were torturing a man whose sons were suspected of cooperating with ISIS, using a brutal technique called the strappado. The images show the prisoner hanged by his arms, blindfolded with Iraqi soldiers standing next to him. The soldiers then put weights to their victim’s back to increase his agony.
Warning: Graphic content
BOUND. TORTURED. KILLED.
— A SherJan Baloch (@ASJBaloch) May 28, 2017
Arkady was able to release the videos after he fled Iraq and smuggled out the footage, despite Iraqi government attempts to prevent negative reporting.
“At the moment we see the United States getting involved in Mosul with other countries, which is not allowing other countries to get involved and oversee how the fight is taken place, how the Mosul is getting freed,” Mohammed Serkal, UN coordinator of the SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights NGO, told RT.
“Any human being should be treated as a human being regardless if they are terrorists or they are criminals. They have to be given a chance to speak about the crimes they committed,” Serkal added.
The US and other members of the anti-ISIS coalition risk complicity in Iraqi abuses given their participation in military operations with the country’s security forces,” Human Rights Watch said in statement.
Iraqi Interior Minister reacted and ordered a an investigation into the matter.
Saad Al-Muttalibi, a member of Baghdad Security Committee told RT that Iraqi soldiers who were filmed torturing and abusing their prisoners were “mainly supervised by US commanders.”
“The rapid response units were trained by the Americans and are close to the US command,” he said. “They [US commanders] have some type of immunity that we can’t question them,” he added.
U.S. Army Col. Joe Scrocca told ABC News that: “Leahy vetting does not prevent the US from working with the ERD, as we do with other elements of the Iraqi Security Forces, to help ensure a coordinated effort among different elements of the ISF in the fight to defeat ISIS in Mosul.”
According to Al-Muttalibi, the man who was tortured by Iraqi security forces in photo series released by Arkady, “wasn’t murdered” and he “is alive.”
“The problem with that particular individual is that his son and his brother are members of ISIS. Unfortunately the officer in charge took matter into his own hands,” he said, adding, that the authorities are currently conducting an investigation into the matter.
However, Al-Muttalibi questioned if the pictures were taken in context, drawing an example of the “quality of the photos” and “the angles of light.”
“As if they [the photos] were orchestrated. The cameraman took a dramatic position to take the picture,” he suggested, adding that the officer who tortured the man and other troops are currently in custody.
Several human rights organizations have documented ‘serious human rights violations” during the US-backed anti-terrorist campaign.
In a statement to RT, the Gulf Center for Human Rights called the Iraqi authorities to establish an independent investigation of the alleged abuses and to bring those responsible to justice “in line with international standards.”
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani