Iraqi women, children in US custody

The US occupation forces in Iraq have been arresting the wives of suspected resistance fighters in an attempt to force their husbands to turn themselves in.

    This award-winning picture shows a detained Iraqi and his son

    "Surrender, we have your wife." This type of threatening note has been found at the homes of many Iraqis. According to Aljazeera's reporter in Baghdad, US forces leave such notes whenever they raid the house of an Iraqi suspect and find him out.

    Scores of Iraqi women are believed to be in jail because US forces suspect their husbands of being resistance fighters. 

    Sergeant Robert Cargie of the fourth infantry division in Tikrit denied the claim.

    "This is categorically not true. We detain and capture individuals based on information and intelligence that the person is engaged in some anti-coalition activity. We target that person regardless of gender and do our best to capture them."

    But Dr Muzhir al-Dulaymi, the spokesman for the League for the Defence of Iraqi People Rights, told Aljazeera.net that his organisation had "discussed the issue of the wives of Iraqi suspects with the US forces.

    "We've also discussed the issue of Iraqi child prisoners, who are accused by the Americans of involvement in Iraqi resistance.

    "A committee will be set up with US representation to look at the allegations."

    Iraqis in Guantanamo

    Hundreds of Iraqis demonstrated on Saturday in front of Abu Ghuraib prison, where thousands of Iraqis are detained. The prison's rehabilitation was one of the first US achievements in Iraq.

    The demonstrators raised banners calling for the immediate release of all Iraqi prisoners, threatening violence against US occupation forces if their demands were not met. 

    Iraqi women shout anti-US slogans 

    in front of Abu Ghuraib prison

    "We strongly call for the immediate release of Iraqi women detained by the US forces. They have committed no crime," a female demonstrator told Aljazeera's Atwar Bahjat at the demonstration.

    "There are 23,000 prisoners in Abu Ghuraib, and 4000 in Um Qasr prison in southern Iraq, most of them held without charge," al-Dulaymi said. "What is really worrying us is we have heard unconfirmed reports that the US authorities in Iraq have moved some Iraqi prisoners to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba."

    Wide resentment

    Wide resentment has been increasing among Iraqis who say the US is not taking enough care in its treatment of Iraqis.

    A recent survey carried out by Al-Mustaqil Institute for Management and Social Studies, in Baghdad, has revealed that 60% of Iraqis reject the US occupation of Iraq. The percentage was 35% in November 2003.  

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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