Children detained by Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government on suspicion that they have connections to the Islamic State group are alleging they were tortured, according to a report from an international human rights group published Sunday.
The children, who have not been formally charged with crimes, recount being held in stress positions, burned with cigarettes, shocked with electricity and beaten with plastic pipes, according to the New-York based Human Rights Watch.
More than 180 boys under the age of 18 are being held, the rights group estimates, and government officials have not informed their families where they are.
The group says it interviewed 19 boys aged 11 to 17 while they were in custody at a children’s reformatory in the city of Irbil. It says the interviews were conducted without a security official or intelligence officer present.
As Iraqi security forces have retaken territory from the Islamic State over the past year and a half, they have also detained hundreds of men and boys, many of whom are thought to have suffered inhumane treatment or been tortured. Rights groups warn such practices risk sowing resentment of Iraqi security forces in the wake of military victories against the Islamic State, including the recent recapture of half the city of Mosul in an operation launched in September.
— The Associated Press
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the U.S. Embassy in Israel should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, injecting himself once again into a charged campaign trail promise of President Trump.
Netanyahu’s comments at his weekly cabinet meeting appeared aimed at countering reports that Israel was concerned about the fallout of such a move, which is vehemently opposed by the Palestinians and has sparked fears of a renewed outbreak of violence. It comes a day after Netanyahu unilaterally endorsed Trump’s call to build a wall along the Mexican border.
“I would like to clarify unequivocally that our view has always been, and continues to be, that the United States’ embassy should be here in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and it is appropriate that not only the American embassy will be here but that all embassies will move here and I believe that in due course most will come here, to Jerusalem.”
Currently, nearly all foreign embassies are located in the coastal city of Tel Aviv because their countries have refrained from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital until its status is resolved in future peace talks. Israel has long called for the embassies to be relocated but hasn’t pushed hard for it given the widespread international opposition.
— Associated Press
Burmese ruling-party lawyer slain: A gunman killed a legal adviser for Burma’s ruling National League for Democracy, shooting the lawyer in the head at close range as he walked out of the Rangoon airport, the government said. The gunman was arrested after he killed Ko Ni, a prominent member of Burma’s Muslim minority, and wounded a taxi driver who tried to stop him from fleeing, officials said, adding that the gunman’s motive was not known. Ko Ni was the Supreme Court advocate for the NLD and a long-standing legal adviser to the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. He had just arrived from a trip overseas.
Haiti wraps up elections that began in 2015: Haiti held a final round of legislative contests as well as long-overdue municipal elections, closing a repeatedly derailed electoral cycle that started in 2015. President-elect Jovenel Moise’s political faction and its allies are hoping to increase their majority in parliament in eight legislative runoffs. Voters were also choosing 5,500 district authorities in local elections, in which tardiness over a decade has exasperated many.
Princess Diana to get a statue in London: The sons of the late Princess Diana plan to have a statue put up to mark the 20th anniversary of her death in a Paris car crash in 1997. Princes William and Harry have commissioned the statue, which will be paid for with private funds and erected in the public gardens of Diana’s former London home, Kensington Palace. The princes said they hope the statue will be unveiled this year.
— From news services