BAGHDAD – Hundreds of people were killed and thousands wounded in the anti-government protests in Iraq last fall and winter that halted political life and immobilized cities from Baghdad to Basra.
In addition, more than 100 people were abducted, and some tortured, by armed groups opposed to the protests, according to a report released Saturday by the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq.
The report documented 99 cases of abductions and disappearances involving 123 victims, 25 of whom are still missing.
None of the perpetrators has been detained or tried for the crimes, the report said.
The report underscores that the complete toll of the violence against the protesters has yet to be fully documented, much less adjudicated. While some Iraqi security force members were among the victims, the vast majority of those killed or wounded were unarmed civilians.
Since the protests ended in February, a new government has taken office. One of the first acts of the new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, was to appoint a fact-finding committee to investigate the violence and to hold accountable the guilty and compensate the families of those killed and wounded.
He also ordered the release of all prisoners held on charges related to the protests unless they were charged with causing injury or death.
“I have not and will not issue any order to shoot any peaceful demonstrator and whoever does so will be brought to justice,” al-Kadhimi said in a news release on Tuesday, suggesting that he was taking a different approach from that of his predecessor, Adil Abdul-Mahdi.
In addition to the 99 abductions cited in the report, and the nearly 500 people killed and nearly 8,000 wounded that have been previously reported, the report says there were others “assassinated by unidentified armed actors away from demonstration sites, those who remain missing, or who were harmed during abduction or detention.”
The report does not discuss those detained and interrogated by Iraqi security forces but focuses on those abducted by unidentified armed groups.