(Beirut) – Iraqi security forces punched, kicked, detained, and interrogated protesters in Baghdad’s “Green Zone” on November 17, 2015. Law enforcement officials have not contacted the victims, despite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s order to investigate, and authorities have not responded to requests for information about the investigation’s status.
Activists who had been holding weekly protests against alleged corruption announced plans to present a petition to the parliament, in the Green Zone, on November 17. At their gathering place a few hundred meters away, security forces punched and kicked several protesters, took three of them away for interrogation, and detained about 30 for two hours, three of the 30 reported. Prime Minister al-Abadi the same day ordered an immediate investigation into claims of abuse and to hold accountable those “transgressing on the right to peaceful demonstration.”
“Public statements are only as good as their follow-through,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “Time and again in Iraq authorities announce an investigation and the abusers continue to operate with impunity.