05 January 2009
Detainees held by USA at risk if transferred to Iraqi custody
The agreement signed between the US President and the Prime Minister of Iraq on 14 December 2008 opens the way for the transfer of thousands of detainees from US to Iraqi custody.

The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which came into force on 31 December 2008, was ratified by the Iraqi parliament on 27 November 2008 after months of negotiations.

It paves the way, among other things, for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

According to recent information, the US military will start transferring detainees to the Iraqi authorities on 1 February 2009. Amnesty International is concerned that the SOFA does not provide any safeguards for prisoners transferred to Iraqi custody.

US forces are currently holding about 15,500 detainees in Iraq in three major detention facilities, the largest of these being Camp Bucca, in southern Iraq, near the Kuwaiti border. Most are held without charge or trial, with some having been held for more than five years.

The detainees include former Ba’ath Party, security and military officials who could be at particular risk.They include ‘Ali Hassan al-Majeed, Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Ta’i, Hussain Rashid al-Tikriti and ‘Abdul Ghani ‘Abdul Ghafour, all sentenced to death for crimes including genocide and crimes against humanity. They are likely to be executed if handed over to the Iraqi authorities.

Take ActionThe Iraqi authorities are already holding thousands of people, many without charge or trial and often in appalling conditions and with no access to lawyers. Death sentences have been passed after trials which failed to meet international fair trial standards. Political and security suspects are routinely tortured or ill-treated in prisons and detention facilities controlled by the Iraqi authorities.

Picture: ©APGraphicsBank
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Protect of US detainees in Iraq

Dear Secretary of State
I wish to express my concern that thousands of detainees in US custody in Iraq are to be transferred to the Iraqi authorities and that the agreement – Status of Forces Agreement – signed by President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, does not provide any safeguards for prisoners transferred to Iraqi custody. I fear that many will be at risk of torture, sentenced to death or even executed.
I urge you to ensure that no prisoner is transferred to Iraqi custody if they would face torture or the death penalty.

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October 14, 2011

Human rights of detainees must be protected.
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