Thousands of Egyptian Prisoners Remain in Iraqi Jails

It is estimated that up to 3,500 Egyptian prisoners are currently being  held in Iraqi jails, with little prospect for their release; elsewhere, violence continues in Iraq.

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female prisoners

Jan 22, 2013

Adel Fazza, legal adviser to the victims of the Gulf War, has revealed that Iraqi jails are holding 3,500 Egyptian prisoners, who had been imprisoned for their Islamic leanings before and during the foreign intervention in Iraq. He said that they are being held at a prison in Basra in southern Iraq, and are in constant contact with their families in Egypt.

Fazza said that there has been contact with officials at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but without success. As a result, he has addressed the issue with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who asked that he be contacted by a governmental body from Cairo.

Fazza said, “We agreed with the Iraqi ambassador on several issues that will be discussed soon, including the problem of Egyptian prisoners, compensation for 8,000 Egyptians who were working in Iraq at the time, in addition to salaries and financial dues for a large number of Egyptians.”

He said that a petition was submitted to President Mohammed Morsi, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and the minister of Manpower and Emigration, resulting in a meeting with a diplomat from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who did not take any action. 

The coordinating committees in Mosul, Samarra and Anbar demanded yesterday [Jan. 20] the release of the prisoners and the abolition of the Terrorism Act.

Azzaman had reported that the female prisoners claimed to have been released by the Iraqi authorities at a ceremony attended by Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Shahristani did not return to their parents. An Iraqi government statement noted that 325 prisoners were released after being exonerated by Iraqi courts in earlier months, and were thus being held without legal justification.

Iraqi government prisons hold tens of thousands of prisoners who were arrested several years ago without charge.

Iraqi, Arab and international human rights organizations agree that investigating officers obtained confessions from prisoners through torture. Reports by international human rights organizations say that judges rely on these confessions during trials, despite knowing that they are obtained through torture and have little legal value.

A UN report said that the Iraqi government does not mention the number of prisoners killed under torture.

In other news, a source in the Nineveh police said that a soldier was wounded in a bombing that targeted an army patrol in the Rabia area west of Mosul. He added that security forces found the body of a policeman who had been shot in the area of al-Shoura, south of Mosul. He also said that the security forces found body parts belonging to an unidentified man in an abandoned building in the area of Khazraj in Mosul.

The source said that the head of the Nineveh branch of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, survived an assassination attempt through an improvised explosive device that targeted his motorcade in the al-Wihdah neighborhood, east of Mosul.

According to a police source in Anbar province, two policemen were wounded in a roadside bomb that targeted their patrol in the neighborhood of al-Jaghifi in Fallujah.

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