IRAQ: SECURITY FORCES ACCUSED OF EXECUTING PRISONERS
July 12, 2014: A rights group has said Iraqi security forces and Shia militia members have been involved in executing at least 255 prisoners in six cities and villages.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Saturday (July 12) that Sunni prisoners were killed as Shia fighters and Iraqi soldiers fled advancing Islamic State rebels.
At least eight of those who were killed were boys under age 18, the group says.
According to HRW, five massacres of prisoners were documented between June 9 and 21 in Mosul, Tal Afar in northern Nineveh province, in Baquba and Jumarkhe in Diyala province, and in Rawa in Anbar province.
The group's report cited evidence from witnesses, accounts of the attacks from anonymous police sources and interviews with family members of some of the victims.
"The mass extrajudicial killings may be evidence of war crimes or crimes against humanity," HRW said in its report, adding that it appeared the executions were to avenge "atrocities" by the Sunni Islamic State group.
"Gunning down prisoners is an outrageous violation of international law," said Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director at HRW.
"While the world rightly denounces the atrocious acts of IS, it should not turn a blind eye to sectarian killing sprees by government and pro-government forces."
In most cases the prisoners were shot dead. In two cases, grenades were thrown inside prison cells of the victims, and in another case dozens of prisoners were set on fire. (Source: Aljazeera, July 12, 2014)