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NCRI-Press Release by office of Struan Stevenson, President of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq

A report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch, into the plight of Iraqi women, has shocked and horrified members of the European Parliament. The 105-page report is based on evidence from 27 women and contains allegations of rape, sexual abuse, torture and threatened violence against family members, including children.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Struan Stevenson MEP, President of the Delegation for Relations with Iraq said:

"The Human Rights Watch Report has given further exposure to the horrific crimes against humanity that are now a daily fact of life in Iraq. One woman who had been tortured by the Iraqi authorities and whose daughter was threatened with rape was executed after giving evidence to Human Rights Watch. This is absolutely scandalous and the EU, UN and US must stop pussy-footing around with Nouri al-Maliki and hold him to account for these appalling crimes.

"I organised a special hearing on the plight of women in Iraq in the European Parliament only last week. One of the eminent Iraqi speakers, Mrs Haifa Zangana, told us that women are routinely exposed to rape, torture and violence. She told us that the death penalty is not just for men. Iraq has become a slaughterhouse, with the third highest use of the death penalty in the world after only Iran and China. She also outlined the horrendous level of corruption in the country where, despite $100 billion dollars in oil income annually, an estimated $800 million is being transferred out of the country every week, unlawfully.

"The Human Rights Watch Report now underlines the appalling situation faced by women, as Iraq spirals towards civil war, under the sectarian dictatorship of al-Maliki, with a judicial system that is plagued with corruption and under direct political influence. Many of the women interviewed were apparently rounded up for alleged terrorist activities by male family members. These women described being kicked, slapped, raped or threatened with sexual assault by security forces while in custody.

"One woman, who had to attend the interview with the human rights organisation on crutches, is currently being held on Death Row in Baghdad's notorious Kazmiyah prison. She described how she had suffered nine days of beatings, shocks and being hung upside down, which had left her permanently disabled. Her jaw had been broken and prison guards told her that they had arrested her daughter whom they said would be tortured and raped unless she signed a confession. Based on such testimonies and confessions gained under barbaric tortures she and hundreds of other women have been sentenced to death.

"The West thought they had achieved 'mission accomplished' when they got rid of Saddam Hussein and collaborated to ensure Nouri al-Maliki clung onto the reins of power. They are now reaping the harvest of this catastrophic mistake. Maliki has proven to be another Saddam, heavily influenced by the mullahs in Iran and intent of waging a brutal, genocidal war against the Sunni population, whom he accuses of being terrorists, in al-Anbar province and cities like Fallujah and Ramadi.

"This horrifying report must now surely be the straw that broke the camel's back. We cannot go on colluding with this criminal regime. The US must stop supplying arms to a government that uses them against its own people and the UN and EU must stop providing economic aid. Maliki must be brought to book for these appalling crimes."

Struan Stevenson MEP

President of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq.

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