2003 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Theo van Boven


Urgent appeals

700. On 26 July 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and on the situation of human rights in Iraq on behalf of Hamza Qassim Sabbat, also known as Abu Haitham, and Ibrahim ‘Abd al-Jasim Mohammad, also known as Abu Ayub, who were said to have appeared on the national television on 25 July 2002 and confessed their involvement in “terrorist acts” inside Iraq for the benefit of a foreign country. It was feared that their confessions may have been extracted under duress. The two men were also said to be at risk of being sentenced to death. During their confessions, they reportedly admitted that they were members of groups that had been trained in Iran and sent to Iraq to kill Iraqi officials, members of the security forces and the military, as well as to carry out bomb attacks in the capital, Baghdad. The two also reportedly confessed their involvement in rocket missile attacks targeting government buildings in Baghdad in 2000 and 2001, as well as in a “plan to destabilise the country” in the aftermath of the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001.

Follow-up to previously transmitted communications

701. By letter dated 11 January 2002, the Government responded to the letter sent by the Special Rapporteur on 30 September 2001 (E/CN/2002/76/Add.1, paras. 753 to 758) and provided information on all the cases transmitted.

702. Concerning Nasser Taresh Sajet Jabr al-Sa’idi (Al-Shaikh Nasser Taresh al- Sa’idi) (ibid., 754), the Government indicated that he was arrested on 1 July 1999. He confessed to taking part in the murder of a number of state officials, including the former Director of Security of Saddam City and was handed over to the Criminal Court which sentenced him to death. The verdict was challenged through the appeal courts and the court of cassation.

703. Concerning Yahya Mushin Ja’far Ali (Al-Shaikh Yahya Mushin Ja’far al- Zeini) (ibid., para. 754), the Government responded that he was called in for questioning on 2 July 1999. No evidence was found of his involvement in any criminal activity and he was duly released. He was not subjected to any form of coercion or torture.

704. Concerning Mohammed Aziz Rahif Jabr al-Aqqabi (Al-Shaikh Mohammad ‘Azoiz Rahif al’-Aqqabi) (ibid., para.755), the Government responded that he had been called in for questioning on 20 September 2000, after a criminal had testified against him. The interview failed to produce any evidence against him and he was duly released. He was not subjected to any ill-treatment.

705. Concerning Iyyad Taresh Sajet al-Sai’idi and his brothers Salem, Hamid and Fahd (ibid., para.756), the Government responded that they had been brought in on 26 June 1999 to clarify certain information relating to their brother Nasser Taresh Sajet Jabr al-Sa’idi (see above). After their statements had been taken, they were duly released. They were not subjected to coercion or ill-treatment.

706. Concerning ‘Adul-Wahhab al-Rifa’i (ibid., para.757), the Government responded that the authorities had no information about him and that he had not been placed under arrest.

707. Concerning Su’ad Jihad Shams al-Din Mahdi al-Baghdadi(Su’ad Jihad Shams al-Din) (ibid., para.758), the Government responded that she had been arrested under article 75 of the Antiquities Act on charge of dealing with antiquities. She was released on bail of 10,000 Iraqi dinars on 22 July 1999.

708. The Government further outlined the legal guarantees applicable to the judicial process such as the right to a defence counsel in accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedures and the fact that court records are automatically sent to the Court of Cassation to review the verdict. The extraction of confessions by force is forbidden under Iraqi law, and is punishable by law. In accordance with article 331 and 332 of the Penal Code and article 127 of the Code of Criminal Procedures any confession obtained by coercion is inadmissible.


709. The Special Rapporteur acknowledges the Government’s responses, but finds insufficient substantive information in the denial of allegations of torture to displace the concern raised by the allegations so as to remove the concerns in this regard.

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small logo   This report has been published by Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights on August 2, 2005.