Conflicts & War

123 people kidnaped since beginning of protests in Iraq, UN says

Baghdad, May 23 (efe-epa).- A total of 123 people have been kidnapped, including 25 who remain missing, since protests first broke out in Iraq until 21 March, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq reported on Saturday.

The abducted people, mostly political activists before the rallies, took part in or supported demonstrations that began on 1 October and criticized the government or political groups on social media, according to a report issued by UNAMI.

All of them were kidnapped in public places near protest points or on their way to them by armed, masked men.

With their eyes covered, they were taken to one or several places, such as houses, caravans or detention camps where they remained for between one and 14 days, sometimes with other people.

All of them have been “interrogated” about their role in the protests and their links to political parties or countries, according to the report.

Men were tortured by brutal methods such as electric shocks, while women were beaten and sexually assaulted, the report denounced.

Although the abducted were unable to identify the people who held them captive, they blamed “militias”.

UNAMI, however, talked about the possible “involvement of armed actors with high levels of organization, resources and capabilities”.

The report pointed out that the testimony of the victims and the data do not indicate that Iraqi security forces were behind the kidnaps.

However, the abductions and the death of at least 490 activists have been unpunished so far, it warned.

“The continued absence of accountability for these acts continues to contribute to the spread of impunity with regard to reports of violations and abuses,” it said.

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