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VI. Torture and ill-treatment of members of political and armed groups
Over the course of several months beginning in July 2004, Human Rights Watch received numerous reports of the torture and ill-treatment of persons apprehended because they were suspected members or supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr or armed militiamen belonging to the Mahdi Army. Most of the arrests took place in the context of armed clashes that erupted in the city of al-Najaf at the beginning of August between Iraqi government and Multinational Force troops on the one hand, and armed militiamen loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr on the other. Under international humanitarian law, persons taking up arms against government forces can be prosecuted under the states criminal law. This is different from an international armed conflict between governments, where captured members of the enemy armed forces may be detained as prisoners of war, but may not be prosecuted for taking up arms.
Hundreds of people were said to have been arrested in the city, both during the clashes and following the declared cessation of hostilities at the end of August 2004, when Muqtada al-Sadr and the Iraqi Interim Government reached a political settlement. During the same period, arrests of other suspected members or sympathizers also took place in Baghdad, some of whom said they were accused of aiding Shia militiamen in al-Najaf. It was unclear in many cases which forces carried out the arrests. Those detained during the clashes reported that several forces were involved, including police forces (both uniformed and in civilian clothes), Emergency Response Units of the Ministry of Defense, Iraqi National Guard, as well as U.S. Marines. The police held at least scores of those detained at various locations in al-Najaf, from where the allegations of torture and ill-treatment emanated. Those detained in Baghdad reported that the police arrested them and then held them in the custody of one of the Ministry of Interiors specialized agencies.
Human Rights Watch interviewed ten people arrested in this context following their release in August and September 2004. Those arrested in al-Najaf included both residents of the city as well as others from Baghdad who were in al-Najaf during the armed clashes. In four of these cases, Human Rights Watch conducted interviews with the detainees within a few days of their release, when injuries allegedly sustained under torture were still clearly visible on the victims. Police forces in al-Najaf had released all of them without referring them to court or charging them with a cognizable offense. In five other separate cases where police carried out the arrests in Baghdad before the outbreak of the fighting in al-Najaf, the Interior Ministrys Major Crimes Directorate held the detainees and subsequently referred them to the Central Criminal Court, where Human Rights Watch was able to speak to them. All of the interviewees who were residents of Baghdad were from the Shia district of al-Sadr City.
Among the detainees referred to the Central Criminal Court was a group of five men arrested together in July 2004 in the al-Karrada district of Baghdad. They told Human Rights Watch that the police picked them up after shooting broke out in the vicinity. All were from the al-Sadr City district of Baghdad. One of them, 24-year-old Murtadha Mahdi, said:
It happened on July 11, between midnight and one oclock in the morning. The police rounded us up and took us to [Criminal] Intelligence headquarters. They took us upstairs and put us in a small cell that had no air conditioning. There were other detainees there, altogether fifteen or seventeen people. We stayed there eight days. They blindfolded us during interrogation, and accused us of having blown up a shop that sells alcohol. They said we belonged to the Mahdi Army. I was beaten with cables. They threw water over my face and then attached electric wires to my ears. Then we were taken to the Major Crimes [Directorate], where we were interrogated again.81
One of the others in the same group, 21-year-old Ali Rashid Abbadi, said the police first took them to al-Alwiyya police station, where they kept them for one hour or so before taking them to the Criminal Intelligence Directorate:
The police came and started hitting us. They shouted at us to confess to being members of the Mahdi Army. The owner of the alcohol shop had told them that he didnt know us, but they arrested us anyway. First of all they took us to al-Alwiyya police station, where we stayed for an hour or less. From there we went to Intelligence. We were blindfolded and our hands were tied behind our backs. They put us in a small room where there were other detainees, altogether seventeen people. Then they took us one by one for interrogation. They made me sit on the floor. When I tried to speak, they said Are you here to talk? Shut up, you are a terrorist. Just confess to being one of the Mahdi Army. Then they poured cold water over me and applied electric shocks to my genitals. I was also beaten by several people with cables on my arms and back. Sometimes they would come in with sacks over their heads so that I wouldnt be able to identify them. During the eight days we stayed there, I was taken twice to Ibn al-Nafis Hospital for Heart Diseases, close to al-Andalus Square. I have an artificial heart valve and have had a catheterization operation, and they did not let me have any medication. As a result of the beatings, my blood pressure went up and I had difficulty breathing, so they took me to the hospital for emergency treatment. Then we were transferred to the Major Crimes Directorate. We were interrogated again but not tortured. There was a secret informant who told them we were not the ones involved in the crime.82
Two of the other defendants in the same group gave Human Rights Watch similar accounts of their treatment. Both said interrogators had kicked and beaten them with cables and subjected them to electric shocks, one of them to his genitals and the other to his spine.83 Having spent twenty-three days in detention before being referred to court, they said very few traces of the torture remained. One showed Human Rights Watch scarring to the left side of his forehead, which he said was the result of being hit with metal handcuffs, and another displayed a series of long scars to the inside of his left arm apparently caused by beatings with cables. Both injuries appeared recent.
Following the interviews, Human Rights Watch attended the hearings of all five detainees before the investigative judge, who ordered them released for lack of evidence. Two of them stated that they had been forced to sign confessions under torture. During their period of detention, their families remained ignorant of their whereabouts and they had no means of contacting a lawyer. The defendants told Human Rights Watch that they had engaged a lawyer who happened to visit the Major Crimes Directorate on behalf of another detainee, but he did not turn up in court on August 3, the day they were due to appear before the investigative judge. They were represented by court-appointed lawyers.
Widespread arrests of persons suspected of belonging to the Mahdi Army, or of being supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, accompanied the fighting in al-Najaf. At a press conference on August 12, Prime Minister Allawi announced that Iraqi and U.S. forces in al-Najaf had captured about 1,200 individuals.84 Residents of al-Najaf and Iraqis from al-Sadr City district of Baghdad who were in al-Najaf in early August spoke of random arrests at checkpoints in the city. They told Human Rights Watch that the arresting forces targeted residents of towns and cities where clashes with Iraqi or U.S. forces had taken place, including al-Nasiriyya, al-Amara, Basra, al-Kut and al-Sadr City.
In the second week of August 2004, Human Rights Watch interviewed four Shia men from al-Sadr City who said that the police had tortured them six days earlier in al-Najaf. They were stopped on August 6 at a checkpoint located on Hay al-Naft, opposite the Wadi al-Salam cemetery, the site of fighting at the time. All four said they came to al-Najaf to pray for relatives buried there and for a funeral ceremony. They were taken to the nearby headquarters of the Emergency Response Units (Afwaj al-Tadakhul al-Sari),also located on Hay al-Naft. They said the forces they saw there comprised Iraqi police, Iraqi National Guard, Emergency Response Units, and U.S. Marines.
The four men all displayed clear traces of recent external trauma to their bodies consistent with the accounts they had given Human Rights Watch, including deep purple and blue bruising and lacerations to the limbs, stomach, posterior, and face. One of them, Ali [full name withheld], the 29-year-old driver of the vehicle stopped at the checkpoint, told Human Rights Watch:
When we entered the headquarters, the [Iraqi] officer told us to kneel before him. We were hit on the back of our necks with a rifle butt. Then they took us upstairs to the first floor and told us to face the wall and began beating us severely. The Americans were there, standing some five or six meters away. They just stood and watched. I was beaten with a wooden stick on my forehead, and all of us were beaten all over the body with cables and hosepipes. That happened even before interrogation had begun.
Then they put us in a cell measuring three by four meters. Altogether we were sixty-three in that room, all crammed together. Some of the others in the cell had also been tortured. One of them, a farmer from al-Najaf called Khalid, had had his fingernails extracted and one of his arms broken. Most were adults but there were also several children, between fifteen and seventeen [years old]. We were given no food for the first day and a half. The guards told us if we wanted to eat we would have to buy our own food.
I was interrogated three times. Each time I told them I had nothing to do with the Mahdi Army, that I was a member of al-Dawa al-Islamiyya [Islamic Call] and even showed them my party ID card. They paid no attention to that. The only special treatment I got was that they did not blindfold me or tie my hands during interrogation. We were beaten during interrogation, which was mainly to force us to insult Muqtada al-Sadr and our holy places. We were released four days later.
The three others interviewed by Human Rights Watch, who also said they had no association with the Mahdi Army, described similar treatment, adding that the police had blindfolded them during interrogation. They also said that under torture, they were forced to insult Muqtada al-Sadr and the Shia faith.85
In another case, police and Iraqi National Guard forces arrested three men who said they were trying to deliver humanitarian aid supplies to the civilian population in al-Najaf and accused them of being Mahdi Army supporters. Dhia Fawzi Shahid, aged thirty from Baghdad, told Human Rights Watch he and two other colleagues were volunteers who were delivering supplies on behalf of the Ministry of Trade when they were arrested in early August:
There were three of us, traveling in an ordinary car. As we approached a checkpoint, the police and army fired in the air and motioned us to stop. When I got out of the car they blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back. At al-Najaf Police Directorate, they removed the blindfolds and I could see four electric wires and various implements used for beatings in the room. During interrogation, we were accused of belonging to the al-Sadr group. Personally, I was beaten with cables and suspended by my hands, which were tied behind my back. One of my shoulders was dislocated as a result. But I saw young men held there who were lying on the floor while the police were treading on their heads with their boots. It was worse than Saddams regime. The police in al-Najaf extort money from the people because they regard them as the spoils of war.
They told me the charge against me was weapons smuggling, but that they would release me if I paid them six papers.86 They said I should contact my family to arrange for the payment, which I refused. I was detained for thirteen days. In the hall where I was held, there were over 300 of us, including elderly men and juveniles. We had to pay for our own food, although every three or four days the Ministry of Health distributed packets of biscuits.87
Further arrests of persons suspected of having taken part in the clashes in al-Najaf continued after the announcement of an agreement to end the fighting between Iraqi government forces and those loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr. Police and Iraqi National Guard forces reportedly arrested scores of men and youth, including children, following raids on their homes, apparently on the basis of tip-offs or intelligence provided by secret informants. They arrested others in the street, apparently because they thought them suspicious. Some of those detained were held at al-Najaf Police Directorate and others at the Crime Combat Office, located opposite al-Najaf Tourist Hotel on the al-Kufa Road in the city.
Other former detainees held in police custody in al-Najaf during August 2004 told Human Rights Watch that they were unaware of the reasons for their arrest, but assumed that like in many other cases, the police targeted them because they suspected them of having links with the Mahdi Army. Some also said that they believed they were falsely accused of having such links, but that the real motive for their arrest was extortion. Two such former detainees, who spoke to Human Rights Watch on condition of anonymity, were held in the first half of August. One of them said the police arrested him and held him for several hours at a police station in the city88 and that during interrogation they accused him of being a member of the Mahdi Army. He stated that they released him after he agreed under duress to make a payment of 250,000 Iraqi dinars. He was told that 50,000 dinars was for his arresting officer and the remainder for the police chief. He added that initially they had demanded 750,000 dinars, but that they brought the price down through a process of negotiation. In the cell where they held him, he estimated that there were some ninety other detainees, many of them arrested ostensibly for their alleged links to the Mahdi Army.89
The second case of arrest for extortion was that of a businessman aged forty, who told Human Rights Watch that the police held him for ten days at the Crime Combat Office on the main al-Kufa Road in al-Najaf. He said that both uniformed and plainclothes policemen raided his home at six oclock in the morning while he and his family were asleep:
They went up to the roof, where I was sleeping with my wife and children because of the heat, and fired shots in the air. They were very rough with us, and didnt give my wife the chance to wear her abaya [traditional black cloak worn by women]. One of the officers hit me and took me downstairs and began searching the house. I asked what they were looking for, but I got no response. I asked to see an arrest warrant and was told there was one, but they didnt show it to me. As I was getting into their car, one of them hit me with the butt of his rifle.
As soon as I entered the Crime Combat Office, they blindfolded me and bound my hands very tightly with a piece of cloth. Then Gods mercy descended on me. They began hitting me in the captains room. There was more than one of them. They didnt ask me any questions, but kept beating me for about ten minutes. I was especially hit on my back with what I thought were rifle butts, and they were insulting me and swearing all the while. I fell to the ground, so they took me and put me in another room for about two hours, keeping me blindfolded and handcuffed. Then they took me to the torture room where I was beaten again with cables and falaqa [beating on the soles of the feet]. I couldnt tell from which direction the blows would come. I could tell from their voices that there were four or five of them.
After about eight days they began negotiating with me over the price for my release. Of course here everything is with money. If you want to get word to your family, you have to pay. If you want to eat, you have to pay. I was told that the captain was asking for one million dinars for my release. I said that was a lot of money, and they said, You can afford it: you have a house, a car and a good business. We finally settled for 350,000 dinars, and they released me. The following day, a policeman was sent to pick up the money, and he told me they were keeping an eye on me.
The businessman also recounted to Human Rights Watch what he had seen in the cell where he had been held:
There were over seventy people in the cell. It was so crowded that there was no room to lie down. About a third of the detainees were Mahdi Army people, so I was told. They were kept to one side. The torture that I suffered was nothing compared to theirs. Some of them had had their fingernails extracted. I saw electric wires in the cell, and a ceiling fan from which wires were dangling. One of them told me they had tied his feet together and suspended him upside down from the ceiling. I saw that his body was covered with blue bruises from the severity of the beating. Each day the guards would come and take out ten or fifteen of them, and they never brought them back. I dont know where they were taken. The asking price for their release was enormous, going up to a million and a half dinars. This is much worse than in Saddams days. Then, it was only the security forces doing it, but now it is also the police. Two others I spoke to said they had come from Baghdad to look for their brother, but were arrested and accused of bringing money for the Mahdi Army with them. There was supposed to be an amnesty for Mahdi Army members, but they didnt release anyone from here.90
On August 16, 2004, representatives of political parties and their supporters held a demonstration in the city of al-Kut in the governorate of al-Waset to protest the ongoing fighting in the nearby city of al-Najaf. Spokespersons for the demonstrators described it as a peaceful event, triggered by the reported killing of scores of people, including women and children, as a result of aerial bombardment by U.S. forces of the al-Sharqiyya district of al-Kut, as the fighting in al-Najaf spread to nearby areas.91 The demonstrators gathered outside al-Waset governorate building to present a list of demands to the governor, which included the payment of compensation to the families of those killed. One of the representatives of the demonstrators committee was Shaikh Ammar Ata al-Hamdani, preacher at the Abi Turab mosque and a member of the Islamic Dawa Party (Hizb al-Dawa al-Islamiyya). He told Human Rights Watch that the committee failed to meet with the governor, but that the demonstrators agreed to return the following day in order to receive a response to their demands. However, the police instead arrested him in the early hours of August 17 and tortured him:
At about three oclock in the morning our home was raided. There was loud banging on the front door and two people entered. They wore National Guard uniforms. Others, some of them masked, surrounded the house. I asked them to show me an arrest warrant, to which they responded by pointing a rifle at my wife and a gun at me. They said, You are coming with us, while I kept saying I had not committed a crime. I got into their car and they took me to the headquarters of al-Waset police force. As soon as I entered the building, they started beating me. I couldnt see because they had put a sack over my head, and my hands were bound with metal handcuffs. They tortured me without even asking me my name or any other question. I received a blow to my throat and was hit hard with cables on my head, which started bleeding. The torture lasted about forty-five minutes, with about four or five people beating me. They asked me no questions and did not talk to each other, so I do not know their names. It appears that they have learned that lesson. I was kicked and dragged on the floor, and beaten severely on my back and stomach. Then they threw me in a cell and removed the sack from my head. The cell had about seventy-five people in it. Two of them appeared to be juveniles. I stayed there until about noon the next day, when I was taken to see the deputy police chief. He asked me why I was here, and I replied that I did not know. They brought me breakfast, and an hour later I was released.92
Shaikh Ammar al-Hamdani told Human Rights Watch that upon his release he went to al-Zahra Hospital in al-Waset for a medical examination and obtained a medical report attesting to his condition. Human Rights Watch did not have the opportunity to examine the medical report, but was given photographs of Shaikh Ammars injuries taken on the same day. They showed deep purple and red bruising and lacerations across his back, shoulders and upper arms, consistent with being whipped or lashed with cables or other implements. He showed Human Rights Watch scarring around his wrists, which he said the metal handcuffs caused. He said he believed the police released him quickly with his wounds still fresh and visible as a way of sending a message to others to desist from any activity frowned upon by the authorities. The norm, he added, was to keep detainees in custody until all traces of torture or ill-treatment had disappeared, and that he was aware of over twenty recent cases of this kind. Following his release, he submitted an official complaint against the police chief, his deputy, and the governor of al-Waset at a local court about his arrest without judicial warrant and his treatment in detention, but at this writing Human Rights Watch did not know what the outcome was.
Human Rights Watch is also aware of other cases involving the arrest without warrant, illegal detention and ill-treatment of members of several political parties in Baghdad. Such arrests violate the right to due process under international human rights law, but also infringe upon the rights to freedom of association and expression. In all of these cases, the detaining authority was the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS), which reports directly to Prime Minister Allawi and which by law possesses no arresting or detaining powers (see Section V). However, in at least one case, the INIS and personnel of the Interior Ministrys Major Crimes Directorate jointly carried out the arrests, with the INIS taking the lead. The INIS also uses the Major Crimes Directorates detention facility in al-Amiriyya to hold detainees in its custody, though they are held separately from other detainees there.
Human Rights Watch received credible information, which it did not have the opportunity to independently verify, that the INIS held some ninety-six detainees at the al-Amiriyya facility as of mid-October 2004. They were said to include people linked to two Shia political parties, the Islamic Dawa Party, and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) (al-Majlis al-Ala lil-Thawra al-Islamiyya fil-Iraq). Human Rights Watch was not aware of the reasons for the arrests, but some of the cases were reportedly linked to attempts by the INIS to claim property said to have belonged to the former Iraqi intelligence service and occupied since the 2003 war by these two political parties. Guards employed by these parties at these premises were said to have been arrested as part of that process and held in INIS custody with no legal basis. All of the arrests were said to have been carried out without warrants from a judicial authority. The INIS held the detainees incommunicado, without access to family members or legal counsel, and detained them for between three to four weeks without referral to court.
The ninety-six detainees were also said to include three journalists working for a local newspaper, al-Shira [The Sail]. The reasons for their arrest were equally unclear, but may have been connected with the publication in al-Shira of an article on the INIS, detailing the alleged connections of some of its personnel with the former intelligence services of the Saddam Hussein government.93 Following the publication of this article, the newspaper editor-in-chief, Sattar Ghanem, was reportedly arrested. Human Rights Watch did not know whether he was among the three al-Shira journalists held by the INIS at the al-Amiriyya facility, and at this writing, could not confirm whether any of the ninety-six detainees continued to be held or released.
The most widely publicized arrests took place on August 16, 2004, when the INIS, together with personnel of the Major Crimes Directorate, raided the headquarters of the Hizbullah Movement in Iraq. Soon after the fall of the Hussein government, Hizbullah had occupied the headquarters of the former General Intelligence Service, a building known locally as Hakimiyyat al-Mukhabarat, located in the al-Alwiyya district of Baghdad.94 Human Rights Watch received conflicting reports about which other forces provided backup support to INIS and Interior Ministry personnel during the raid: some said that it was soldiers of the Iraqi National Guard, wearing clothes similar to those of the U.S. army, while others said U.S. forces took part but did not enter the premises. Altogether, fifty-nine people were arrested, among them the Secretary General of Hizbullah, Hassan al-Sari, and tens of party members and employees, as well as six people who happened to be on the premises as guests. Iraqi forces searched the premises and removed property. They kept those arrested there for twelve hours before taking them in two buses to the Major Crimes Directorate facility in al-Amiriyya.
The arrests sparked an outcry by a number of Iraqi political parties. The pressure generated contributed to the release of the partys leader, Hassan al-Sari, the following day. He told Human Rights Watch that arresting officials used violence against them at the time of arrest and ill-treated them, including by handcuffing them and making them lie down on the ground face down for over twelve hours, barring them from talking and depriving them of food and water. He added that he had lodged an official complaint against their illegal arrest and treatment at the Central Criminal Court, where Human Rights Watch spoke to him.95
INIS personnel carried out the arrests without judicial warrants and, with the exception of Hassan al-Sari, held the detainees for periods ranging from ten days to two months without referral to an investigative judge or formally charging them. In early October 2004, Human Rights Watch interviewed five of them following their release. Naji Mawla Nima, one of Hassan al-Saris personal bodyguards, described the raid and their treatment:
It was about 2.30 in the morning, and we were asleep. We were awakened by the sounds of gunshots and ran to see what was happening. One of the guards told us that there were American forces outside, together with other groups wearing National Guard uniforms, many of whom wore hoods. Al-Haj Hassan al-Sari asked them what was happening and did they represent the government, and they replied Yes, we are from the government. But they had no official papers with them. They simply raided the Movements headquarters, and then ordered us to lie down on the ground. There were twenty of us at first, including Hojatoleslam al-Sayyid Hashem al-Shawki, a member of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution. They pulled his amama [turban] off his head and it fell to the ground. Then they proceeded to tie his hands behind his back with his jubba [cloak worn by Muslim clerics] and ordered him to lie down on the ground too. When everyone was lying face down, they placed metal handcuffs on our wrists. They also used al-Sayyid Hashem al-Shawkis jubba, which they tore into strips, to tie the hands of others, and also used the strips and other cloth to blindfold us. We stayed in that position from about 2.30 in the morning until 3.00 in the afternoon. They gave us no food or water. They did not question us, and we were not allowed to talk to each other. If anyone tried to speak or ask a question, they would come and kick us in the back and swear at us.96
At the Major Crimes Directorate, INIS personnel held the detainees in a room that Naji said measured five by six square meters, causing severe overcrowding: We would take turns to sleep since there was no space for all of us to sleep at the same time, and even then we had to sleep in a crouched position as there was no room to lie down on our back.97 Another of those detained described the condition of their detention:
In the cell there was one split unit [air conditioning] and a ceiling fan. The weather was extremely hot. They cut off the electricity supply from eleven oclock at night until three oclock in the afternoon of the following day. Three among us fainted from the extreme heat. They gave us no food or water on the first day, and said that we would have to pay for food, water, and cigarettes at double the usual price. They did not allow us to contact our families or to engage a lawyer. We could not even ask our families to bring us something to sleep on, and had to sleep on the bare floor.98
According to the accounts of those interviewed by Human Rights Watch, the INIS initially interrogated the detainees, focusing their questions on Hizbullahs alleged links with Iran:
During interrogation, they accused us of serving Iranian interests and of being agents of the Iranian government. Then they said we were a terrorist organization. They also claimed to have concrete information proving that we had bought weapons and explosives. None of us was tortured during interrogation, but they waged a war of nerves against us, sometimes telling us they would release us, and at other times that they would transfer us to the custody of the Major Crimes Directorate to prolong our detention.99
Once initial interrogation had ended, personnel of the Major Crimes Directorates Anti-Terrorism Unit then apparently interrogated the detainees. Neither agency brought any of them before an investigative judge or filed formal charges against them. They then released them in stages: ten were released on August 26, thirty-nine others on September 20, and the remaining four on October 13. The Major Crimes Directorate subsequently took over the premises at Hakimiyyat al-Mukhabarat, from which Hizbullah was evicted, as its main headquarters. On the basis of the formal complaint lodged on August 25, 2004, by Hizbullahs leader, Hassan al-Sari, the Central Criminal Courts chief investigative judge at the time, Zuhair al-Maliki, issued a series of summons requiring several officials to appear in court to answer questions relating to the arrests. Brigadier General Raad Yas Khudayyir al-Dulaimi, head of the al-Amiriyya facility, sent a representative in response to the summons he received. The representative reportedly stated that the INIS held the Hizbullah detainees at the Major Crimes Directorate facility of al-Amiriyya under its jurisdiction. The Ministry of Interiors legal spokesperson, the Minister of Interior Falah al-Naqib, and the INIS director, Major General Muhammad Abdullah al-Shahwani, did not answer summons issued to them. On October 18, 2004, Judge Zuhair al-Maliki was removed from his post as the Central Criminal Courts chief investigative judge and transferred to another post.
 Human Rights Watch interview with Murtadha Mahdi, Central Criminal Court, Baghdad, August 3, 2004.
 Human Rights Watch interview with Ali Rashid Abbadi, Central Criminal Court, Baghdad, August 3, 2004.
 Human Rights Watch interviews with Asil Abbas Hussain and Yusuf Shakir Ufi, Central Criminal Court, Baghdad, August 3, 2004.
 Falah al-Nakib Holds a News Conference on Najaf, Federal Document Clearing House, Political Transcripts, August 12, 2004.
 Human Rights Watch interviews with Jabbar, Ali, Sadiq and Adnan [full names withheld], Baghdad, August 12, 2004.
 In colloquial Iraqi dialect, a paper (waraq) commonly refers to a $100 bill in U.S. currency, while a notebook (daftar) denotes $10,000.
 Human Rights Watch interview with Dhia Fawzi Shahid, Baghdad, September 5, 2004.
 The name of police station has been withheld at his request.
 Human Rights Watch interview with a former detainee from al-Najaf [name and details withheld by Human Rights Watch], Baghdad, September 21, 2004.
 Human Rights Watch interview with a businessman from al-Najaf [name and details withheld by Human Rights Watch], Baghdad, September 21, 2004.
 See, for example, Michael Howard, Armed clashes claim 172 Iraqi lives, The Guardian, August 13, 2004 and US bombing of Iraq city of Kut kills 75, wounds 148: official, Agence France Presse, August 12, 2004. Human Rights Watch was unable to verify how many people were killed during the aerial bombardment of al-Kut. One person from al-Najaf interviewed by the organization put the number of those killed at forty-five, and those wounded at 150.
 Human Rights Watch interview with Shaikh Ammar Ata al-Hamdani, Baghdad, September 20, 2004.
 Human Rights Watch did not know the date on which this article was first published in al-Shira, but it was reproduced by the Hizbullah Movement in Iraq in its weekly newspaper, al-Bayyina (Issue No. 99, last week of October 2004), under the title What do you know about our new intelligence service?
 Hizbullah party officials told Human Rights Watch that their occupation of the premises had been authorized by the CPA at the time, and showed the organization documents to that effect.
 Human Rights Watch discussion with Hassan al-Sari, Secretary General of Hizbullah, Baghdad, August 25, 2004.
 Human Rights Watch interview with Naji Mawla Nima, Baghdad, October 3, 2004.
 Human Rights Watch interview with Abu Mustafa al-Saidi, Baghdad, October 3, 2004.
 Human Rights Watch interview with Muhammad Muhammad al-Masudi, Baghdad, October 3, 2004.