Iraq crisis: Government forces execute 255 Sunni prisoners in revenge for Isis atrocities, says report

Human Rights Watch has called for an inquiry into alleged massacres

Iraqi forces have illegally executed at least 255 Sunni prisoners in the past month, according to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The group said it found evidence of summary killings by the Iraqi army and militias affiliated with the government since 9 June.

In nearly all cases, soldiers, police or Shia militia members shot the prisoners dead, but in one case dozens of prisoners were reportedly set on fire and in another, grenades were thrown into locked cells.

Five massacres were documented in Mosul and Tal Afar, in northern Nineveh province, in Baaquba and Jumarkhe, in Diyala, and in Rawa in Anbar province.

The killings appeared to be retaliation for attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), which has seized large areas of Iraq and major cities.

In all but one case, the alleged executions took place while the soldiers were fleeing Isis as it advanced, HRW said.

The extremist group violently ascribes to Sunni Islam, whereas the majority of Iraqi soldiers are Shias, as is the central government.

Isis has shot and beheaded unknown numbers of captured soldiers, police officers, Shia religious minorities and members of militias who tried to resist them.

Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director of HRQ said gunning down prisoners is an “outrageous violation of international law”.

He added: “While the world rightly denounces the atrocious acts of ISIS, it should not turn a blind eye to sectarian killing sprees by government and pro-government forces.”

The group called on an international commission to investigate the alleged executions and human rights breaches by all sides in the continuing Iraq crisis.

Iraq’s ethnic and religious groups are being pulled apart by the sectarian conflict, where Sunni Isis is pitted against the Shia Iraqi government and Kurds have taken control of an area in the north of the country.

Kurdish forces have continued to grow in strength, seizing two oilfields in northern Iraq and taking over operations from a state-run oil company on Friday.

Kurdish politicians have further weakened Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government by suspending their participation after they were accused of harbouring extremists.

Hoshiyar Zebari, Iraq’s Foreign Minister, told Reuters the country is divided into three states, “Kurdish, a black state [Isis] and Baghdad".

Read more: Accusations fly between Kurdish leaders and Baghdad
Iraq insurgents 'seize nuclear materials' from Mosul University
Isis massacre of 53 Shia villagers suspected
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea