Iraq’s Interior Ministry detains officer amid human rights abuse claims
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Ministry of Interior has announced the arrest of a ranking officer amid resurfaced human rights violations, especially during the anti-ISIS campaign in Mosul and the October 2019 protests.
The decision came after human rights organizations published video reports accusing Omar Nizar, a lieutenant-colonel in the Ministry's Rapid Response Forces, of rape, extrajudicial killings, and other rights abuses.
Among the organizations that have revived this issue is the Iraq-based End Impunity organization, which demanded Nizar must be brought to justice for his offenses.
The Ministry of Interior said in a statement that it has detained the suspect and formed a legal committee to conduct a probe into the man and the allegations. It also noted that Nizar had already been investigated, and his arrest would facilitate completing it.
The End Impunity report has accused Nizar of committing rape, murder, and torture during the operation to liberate Mosul between late 2016 and mid-2017. He is also facing accusations of shooting protesters in Nasiriyah at the height of the October demonstrations.
In a recently-circulated video recording, Nizar has claimed that the military and civil courts had already acquitted him of these charges. He also said he would accept any sentence.
"If it is proven that this officer failed to perform his duty and did not comply with it, legal measures will be taken against him," the Interior Ministry added, claiming the results of the probe would be made public.