(Beirut) – Four videos allegedly filmed in west Mosul appear to show Iraqi soldiers and federal police beating and extrajudicially killing detainees, Human Rights Watch said today. All four videos were published on Facebook on July 11 and 12, 2017, by an Iraqi named Salah al-Imara, who regularly publishes information regarding security and military activities in and around Mosul.
One video posted on July 11, appears to show Iraqi soldiers beating a detainee before throwing him off a cliff and then shooting at him. In the video, the soldiers also shoot at the body of another man already lying at the bottom of the cliff. Another, from the same day, seems to depict Iraqi soldiers kicking and beating a bleeding man. One posted on July 12, seems to depict a large group of federal police forces apparently beating at least three men. Another also posted on July 12, seems to show a group of Iraqi soldiers, who it appears are kicking a man on the ground in their custody.
Human Rights Watch independently verified the exact location of the first video with satellite imagery recorded on multiple dates before and after the video was posted. Human Rights Watch has not verified the locations of the other three videos.
The following statement can be attributed to Belkis Wille, senior Iraq researcher at Human Rights Watch:
In the final weeks of the battle for west Mosul, I observed first-hand the desire of armed forces to get the battle wrapped up as quickly as possible, and what seems to be a resulting decline in their respect for the laws of war. Numerous witnesses on the front line have given me detailed reports of not only torture and extrajudicial killing of ISIS suspects captured by Iraqi security and military as they flee the Old City of Mosul, but a change in tenor, with armed forces no longer feeling the need to hide their actions.
These horrific reports of mistreatment and murder have been met by silence from Baghdad, only further fostering the feeling of impunity among armed forces in Mosul. Prime Minister al-Abadi should immediately launch investigations into these serious crimes that appear to have been exposed in these videos, and also look into other recent reports of violations by armed forces in the context of the Mosul battle.