A new report, released Tuesday by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, details a labyrinth of unfairness, with detainees often denied due process at every turn. Confessions frequently come through torture, it says. Few detainees see a lawyer until they appear in court. In some cases, they do not even know which authority is holding them.
Four years after the U.S.-backed defeat of the Islamic State group here, more than 40,000 inmates are packed in prisons across Iraq’s federal and Kurdish regions. Judicial records and court visits suggest that roughly half were arrested on terrorism charges, then tried in a system that affords little effort to weight specific evidence against them.
The U.N. report is based on 235 interviews with current or former detainees, as well as discussions with prison staff, judges, lawyers, families of the detainees and other relevant parties.