BAGHDAD, Iraq (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Prime Minister’s office on Thursday admitted a faction of the security forces committed “abuses” against civilians during the battle to defeat the Islamic State (IS) in Mosul.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said they began an investigation into the matter in May after a report by German news magazine Der Spiegel included images of torture by Iraqi forces.
The photos were taken by a freelance photographer embedded with the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s elite Emergency Response Division (ERD).
“The committee has concluded…that clear abuses and violations were committed by members of the ERD,” a statement from PM Abadi’s office said.
The report added those responsible for the incidents would be “prosecuted.”
The photos printed in the German magazine showed detainees accused of membership to IS hanging from ceilings with their arms bent behind them.
The Der Spiegel journalist also wrote of “prisoners being tortured to death, raped, and stabbed with knives.”
The ERD was one of several government security forces backed by the US-led coalition that helped defeat IS in Mosul, their de facto capital in the country.
After nine-months of heavy clashes, PM Abadi announced victory in the city in early July.
When the reports of abuse and torture first surfaced, the ERD denied the claims and accused the German publication of printing “fabricated and unreal images.”
The photographer, who was not named for security purposes, said he planned to record the bravery of Iraqi troops fighting IS but an evil side of the war began to emerge.
The soldiers who he was embedded with allowed him to observe and photograph the torture scenes, according to the photographer.
Concerned for his well-being, he has now fled Iraq with his family.