Wikileaks’ recent publishing of classified military documents regarding the Iraqi war has put the issue of human rights abuses towards prisoners in the spotlight. At the center of these abuses are Iraqi and US forces. I haven’t scoured the 400,000 documents, but you can read a summary about them here and here.
The documents reveal startling details about abuse towards prisoners including “beatings, burnings, and lashings” by Iraqi forces with US authorities having been “aware of this systematic abuse for years” upon handing over thousands of prisoners to their Iraqi counterparts.
The prisoners said their torturers kicked, whipped, and beat them, tried to suffocate them, gave them electric shocks, burned them with cigarettes, and pulled out their fingernails and teeth. They said that interrogators sodomized some detainees with sticks and pistol barrels. Some young men said they were forced to perform oral sex on interrogators and guards and that interrogators forced detainees to molest one another.
International law prohibits the US government–as well as all governments–from the transferring “of detained individuals to the authorities of another state where they face a serious risk of torture and ill-treatment.”
The US is concerned the leaks put “our troops in even greater danger than they inherently are on these battlefields,” it should also be concerned about the treatment towards the detainees and prisoners when they are handed over to their Iraqi allies.