Reprieve for 3 condemned Iraqi women
The top news stories out of Iraq March 5 and 6 showed that the occupation continues to make Iraq a deadly place for Iraqis and for the U.S. occupation forces. Nine GIs were killed, six north of Baghdad by a roadside explosion. And dozens of Iraqis were blown up or burned in explosions or killed by U.S. fire.
Up to two million Iraqis have fled the country, unable to bear the insecurity that the U.S. occupation has imposed on many areas of Iraq since the March 20, 2003 invasion, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. U.S. imperialism is a conquering power that has brought repression and humiliation to Iraqis without constructing a viable economy or a stable society.
A key event that has captured the attention and activities of the worldwide solidarity movement with Iraq is the attempt of the Iraqi government to schedule the execution of three women for their alleged participation in the resistance movement.
The women are 31-year-old Wassan Talib, charged with the killing of five police officers in an attack on the police; 25-year-old Zainab Fadhil, charged for an attack on a joint patrol of the Iraqi and U.S. armies in Baghdad; and 26-year-old Liqa Muhammad, charged with the killing of an official in the Green Zone in the course of a kidnapping.
All are in Baghdad’s Al-Kadhimiya Prison. Two are caring for their small children, who are with them in prison. The 1-year-old daughter of Liqa Muhammad was born in prison. All the women deny the charges for which they face death by hanging.
Fearing a quick execution on March 3, leading activists in the BRussell’s Tribunal in Belgium, from the Turkish anti-war movement, from the British anti-war movement, from the International Action Center in the U.S. and many others around the world, joined to wage a petition campaign to protest and stop the impending executions. (brusselstribunal.org)
As a result of the campaign, high officials in Turkey, Britain and the European Union protested to the Baghdad regime.
According to a March 2 statement signed by Hana Al Bayaty, Ian Douglas, Abdul Ilah Albayaty, Iman Saadoon, Dirk Adriaensens and Ayse Berktay, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that “the three Iraqi women will not be executed until an appeals court has ruled on their cases.”
The statement continues: “This assurance came from Iraqi authorities. It is not enough. We demand to know the charges on which these three Iraqi women stand convicted. We demand to know the date of their appeal hearings. We demand that a public statement is made. We demand that they be afforded all due protections under international human rights and humanitarian law.”
And it makes what is the most powerful point: “If charged with resisting foreign occupation and aggression, we declare this charge illegal.”
Some 2,000 women are imprisoned in Iraq and classified as “security detainees.” For most of the world’s people, whoever participates in acts of resistance against the illegal and criminal occupation are heroes and heroines who have sacrificed not only for Iraq but for all the oppressed peoples of the world.
In a well-publicized strike in Basra in the South of Iraq, British troops and Iraqi special forces assaulted the offices of an Iraqi government intelligence agency. British officials said they discovered about 30 prisoners, some showing signs of torture, as justification for this strike against the government the British and U.S. have been supporting.
A more famous example of torture in prisons is that of Abu Ghraib, run by the U.S. military with guards that come out of the repressive U.S. prison system.
In a less publicized action on Feb. 23, U.S. forces raided the Baghdad offices of the Iraq Syndicate of Journalists. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned as “outrageous and inexcusable” the action of occupation soldiers who carried out the armed raid.
According to the IFJ network, U.S. soldiers “destroyed furniture, ransacked the offices, arrested state-employed security guards, and confiscated 10 computers and 15 small electricity generators destined for the families of killed journalists.”
As of Jan. 1, some 170 journalists had been killed in Iraq since the occupation began, many of them by U.S. forces.
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