Most of these prisoners were senior officers including brigadier generals or had higher ranks in the Iraqi army. Some of them were pilots, members of the special forces, the Republican Guard, navy, infantry, the missile unit, or were experts and scientists in Iraq's former Military Industrialisation Organisation.
The prisoners are currently being held in al Hout Prison in southern Iraq, al Kadhimiya Prison in Baghdad or in two other prisons in Babil and Basra provinces. They are being held under high level security measures, despite their old age with may suffering from serious health problems.
Last week, the chief of staff of the Iraqi army and the commander of former Republican Guard, Eyad Khalifa Ftaih al Rawi, 76, died in prison after he had had a stroke. His daughters and sons were not allowed to see him before he died.
Many more high-ranking officers in the former Iraqi military have died in prison, including; Maj Gen Ahmed Abdul Majeed, 71, a commander in the air force, Maj Gen Hussein Mohammed al Hamdani, 69, a commander with the special forces, and Muayed Yasin, 73, a commander of Hitteen Brigade. In addition, Brig Gen Khalid Al-Juburi, a commander of the 1st Squadron of the former Iraqi Air Force that carried out the first air strikes inside the Iranian territory during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war also died while incarcerated. It is known that Iran-backed militias assassinated many of his colleagues following the US invasion of Iraq.
Walid al Kazimi, a member of the 'Iraq Veterans Association', was quoted by al-araby al-Jadeed news outlet, as saying that “most of the prisoners are simply facing retaliation for their participation in defeating Iran (during the Iran-Iraq war), there is not any other reason.”
“The former Iraqi military generals were not politicians; they were just officers carrying out their duties. Many of them worked in the Iraqi military long before the rule of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Some of them had participated in the Arab liberation wars against the Zionists in Syria, Jordan and Egypt. There are political reasons behind their prosecution, Iran is behind it .” al Kazimi added.
Former Iraqi Vice President (2006-2009) Tariq al-Hashemi called upon Prime Minister Haider al Abadi to intervene to release the former senior military officers, especially, former Iraqi Defence Minister Gen Sultan Hashim, Maj Gen Saadi Tomeh and Maj Gen Saber al Douri on humanitarian considerations.
In an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Iraqi MP Hamed al Mutlaq, also member of the Iraqi parliament's Security and Defence Committee, said that the release of the former senior military officers is considered a purely humanitarian matter describing their imprisonment as “ stab in Iraqi nationalism because these officers defended the Iraqi nation for many years, this must be stopped."
Al Mutlaq said: "They must be released for humanitarian reasons. The persistence of imprisoning them is an insult to the Iraqi people. In my opinion, they have been targeted by a foreign country (referring to Iran).”
According to al Mutlaq, it is illegal to imprison these senior officers of the former Iraqi military. “Unfortunately the country is controlled by corrupt people working for foreign interests, they are keen to fulfil these interests.”, he added.