Human rights activists in Iraq announced the death of a number of detainees in strange circumstances in Al-Hout Prison in Nasiriyah city, the center of Dhi Qar Governorate (south of the country), pointing out that the prisoners’ bodies are stacked in forensic medicine refrigerators.
Last November 24, the bodies of 12 detainees who died mysteriously in their cells were handed over to their families, making the number of bodies in the forensic medicine department Nasiriyah prison reach 27 bodies, all of whom are Iraqi citizens.
In an interview with a doctor working in the forensic medicine department in Dhi Qar Governorate, he confirmed the news saying: “Bodies are delivered almost daily in prison cars to the forensic medicine department with death certificates prepared in advance by the prison administration, and without any forensic examination procedures being carried out to find out the causes of death.
He added that some of the dead prisoners have swelling that change the features of their bodies and make it difficult to examine them, in addition to corpses bearing signs of stabbing and beatings, internal bleeding from the nose and ear, or fractures and bruises.
A medical source, who refused to reveal his name, stated that a photocopy and internet service shop near Teaching Hospital is working with employees in the prison administration, and is responsible for handing over the bodies of the victims to their families for sums of money, which is in fact a “bribe” to allow them to pass security checkpoints.
We express our shock at the rising numbers of deaths inside Al-Hout Prison, as many of these deaths involve suspicions of premeditated killing of the victims.
We call on the Iraqi Public Prosecution and the judiciary to open an extensive investigation to find out the grave human and legal violations in this prison and we hold the government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi morally and legally responsible for its continued disregard for the ongoing violations and crimes in prisons since he took office.