According to Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi’s office, two of the vice president’s bodyguards were tortured to death while in Iraqi custody. An independent human rights commission, now being organized, could eventually look into the matter. Meanwhile, the United Nations is reporting that over 600 Iraqi civilians have died this year. Including the two bodyguards who died weeks ago, at least seven Iraqis were killed and 10 more were wounded in new reports.
Martin Kobler, the U.N. Special Envoy for Iraq, said that 613 civilians have been killed in the first three months of the year. The number is slightly less than last year. During his report to the U.N. Security Council, he noted that the political instability had added to the number of random attacks on civilians. Kobler also spoke of human rights issues.
Coincidentally, the Iraqi Parliament approved the creation of a new and independent human rights commission. The new group will monitor rights in both government and non-governmental organizations. They also plan to educate Iraqis as to what rights they can claim.
Among the cases they could take up are the claims of harassment, torture and murder being slung at the Iraqi government by accused Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi. Today, a spokesman for the vice president said that two of Hashemi’s bodyguards have been tortured to death while in detention. Hashemi and many of his employees have been accused of ties to terrorism. The vice president was able to escape arrest and is currently on a multi-nation tour. The deaths occurred before the Arab League summit but were kept secret until after the meeting. Last month, another Hashemi bodyguard was reportedly tortured and killed while in detention.
Meanwhile, at least five more Iraqis were killed and 10 were wounded.
Two bombs in Badush left two dead and seven wounded, both civilians and prison guards.
A roadside bomb killed a farmer driving in Aziziya.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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