Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Checkpoints: the latest threat to Iraqis

“Sectarian violence is affecting all people and places in Iraq and there is no safety anymore. Before, I was afraid to go out because of explosions, but now checkpoints have become much more dangerous than any other hazard in Iraq,” remarked Samia’a al-Din. Al-din has not seen her son or husband since their arrest at an Iraqi checkpoint in March, IRIN reported today.

Due to the current state of unrest in Iraq, Iraqi police have been known to arrest or detain individuals on questionable grounds. Citizens that once turned to the authorities for protection against known killers are now equally afraid of the authorities. Many citizens have common stories involving missing or murdered relatives.

“Checkpoints are important in Iraq to prevent terrorism but unfortunately security forces aren’t behaving correctly with the local population,” said Professor Bakr Muhammad, a security analyst at Mustansiriyah Universtiy. “Sunnis are afraid to pass though Shia checkpoints as well as the Shias through the Sunni ones. It is a rare day on which people aren’t arrested or killed and surely most of them are innocent victims of sectarian violence. Such abuse is unacceptable and the government should so something to change this.”

The police claims to have checked into many cases in question, and has found no links to its officers and the incidences. More commonly, they point to insurgents as the party responsible. Consequently, the recent killings, disappearances and denials have lead to widespread distrust between the Iraqi civilians and the police.

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