ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Residents in the disputed area of Kirkuk await the sentencing of three teenagers accused of raping a six-year-old child before leaving him for dead in one of the city’s suburbs, an incident that shook the entire region.
On Wednesday last week, the Kirkuk police department posted on its official page that it had apprehended three suspects in the murder, torture, and rape of a young boy in the multi-ethnic, diverse city of Kirkuk.
The horrific crime, the first of such a nature in decades, sparked a debate surrounding the reasons behind such an act. The child was on his way to a nearby mosque in the Wasiti district when he was taken by the perpetrators.
The father was quoted as saying the son had gone out without the family’s knowledge. He claimed to have searched for the young boy and was told by witnesses the child had last been seen behind the mosque.
The man came upon a shocking scene after he and his relatives found a parked truck, fearing the boy might be found onboard.
“As soon as I looked inside, I found him handcuffed and bloodied,” the father reportedly said. He claimed there were signs he had been sexually assaulted.
The child was rushed to the hospital but died from the severe injuries he suffered. Witnesses reported the kidnappers were neighbors of the child, who had just finished kindergarten.
The story reached Baghdad and Iraq’s Minister of Interior, Qassim al-Ajari, traveled to Kirkuk to follow up on the incident. He told reporters that an investigative committee had identified three teenage boys in the case.
“We demand the execution of those responsible for this act,” the child’s mother was quoted as saying. “They should die in the same place my son was raped and killed.”
Kirkuk is known to be a conservative region, and these types of incidents often grip the public’s attention.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the murder of the child should “alarm everyone” and raise awareness toward the protection of children and young people.