Isis has reportedly endorsed the 'harvesting' of organs from live prisoners in order to save the lives of Muslims, an official document captured by US special forces in a Syrian raid revealed.
The document, which was obtained by Reuters, revealed that Isis believes "the apostate's life and organs don't have to be respected and may be taken with impunity."
Dated to 31 January 2015, the directive was issued by Isis's Research and Fatwa Committee, and was seized along with a treasure trove of data and other documents during a raid in eastern Syria in May 2015.
A version of the document translated from the original Arabic by the US government says: "Allah almighty knows best what is right and what is wrong, and there is evidence from texts and Islamic principles and laws supporting the notion that transplanting healthy organs from an apostate's body into a Muslim body in order to save the latter's life or replace a damaged organ with it is permissible."
It explicitly stated that removing the organs of non-Muslims, even if this would result in their deaths, was also permitted.
The document does not actually prove that Isis has engaged in organ harvesting or trafficking, and its authenticity could not be independently verified - but it does provide a religious justification for the practice, under the group's strict interpretation of Islam.
As well as organ transplantation, the document also said it was permissible to "kill the apostate in order to eat his flesh" if it was necessary to do so. The authors justified the document's directives by citing Islamic texts and principles.
Speaking to Reuters, Iraqi ambassador to the UN Mohamed Ali Alhakim said the documents should be examined by the UN Security Council, as evidence that Isis harvests and traffics human organs to make money.
Alhakim has previously expressed fears that Isis was engaging in organ harvesting, saying in February that bodies in Iraqi mass graves had been found with surgical incisions and missing organs.
The raid that resulted in the capture of the documents also ended with the death of top Isis official Abu Sayyaf, and the seizure of several terabytes of secretive data.
US officials have previously described the raid and some of the documents that were seized - but this is the first time that actual documents have been released.
The data and information gathered during the raid was shared with the US's allies, part of the ongoing efforts in Iraq and Syria to combat the militant group on its own turf.
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