UN envoy: Iraq torture “worse than
Iraq is worse now than under the former regime of
Saddam Hussein, the United Nations’
special investigator on torture said, according to the BBC.
Speaking to reporters at a briefing in
Geneva, Manfred Nowak said that “the situation as far as torture is
concerned now in Iraq is totally out of hand.”
"The situation is
so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam
Hussein," he added.
On Thursday, the UN Assistance Mission in
Iraq said in a report that civilian deaths in Iraq reached an unprecedented
level, with more than 6,599 civilians killed in violent attacks in July and
August, making them the deadliest months in the war-torn country since the
2003 U.S.-led invasion.
The report also said that bodies found in
Baghdad morgue “often bear signs of severe torture,
including acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances,
missing skin, broken bones, missing eyes, missing teeth and wounds caused by
power drills or nails.”
Victims come from prisons run by U.S.-led
occupation forces as well as by the ministries of interior and defense and
private militias, the report added.
The UN report concluded that torture
threatens "the very fabric of the country" as
victims exact their own revenge.
"Brutal methods of torture"
Nowak said the UN findings confirm
reports he had received by Iraqi refugees living in Jordan and elsewhere.
"You have terrorist groups, you have the
military, you have police, you have these militias. There are so many people
who have abducted, seriously tortured and finally killed," Nowak said.
"It's not just torture by the government.
There are much more brutal methods of torture you'll find by private
militias," he added.
The Australian law professor also said
he’d like to visit Iraq by himself, but noted that the current situation in
the country wouldn’t allow him to prepare a proper report, because it
wouldn’t be safe to leave Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone where the
Iraqi government and American officials are based.
Nowak is in Geneva to brief the UN Human
Rights council; a body that tackles human rights violations, on the
situation of the U.S.’s detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
He is one of five UN human rights
investigators who demanded the U.S. to shut down Guantanamo, which they
called a “torture camp".
The calls, made in February, were
rejected by Washington.