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WikiLeaks: 2007-06-18: 07BAGHDAD2012: Sunni Politicians Seek COR Inspections of Detention Centers, Show Increased Interest in Human Rights

by WikiLeaks. 07BAGHDAD2012: June 18, 2007.

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 05:08 PM UT


Viewing cable 07BAGHDAD2012, SUNNI POLITICIANS SEEK COR INSPECTIONS OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD2012 2007-06-18 17:12 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO8581
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2012/01 1691712
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 181712Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1755
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC//NSC//
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 002012 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2017 
TAGS: PHUM KDEM PGOV PINR IZ
SUBJECT: SUNNI POLITICIANS SEEK COR INSPECTIONS OF 
DETENTION CENTERS, SHOW INCREASED INTEREST IN HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
REF: A) 06 BAGHDAD 4141 B) BAGHDAD 819 C) 06 BAGHDAD 
     4451 D) BAGHDAD 1213 E) BAGHDAD 820 F) 
     BAGHDAD 1974 
 
Classified By: DEPUTY POLITICAL COUNSELOR ROBERT GILCHRIST FOR REASONS 
1.4 (B,D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  The cross-sectarian Human Rights Committee 
of the Council of Representatives (CoR) has repeatedly 
voiced, especially through its Sunni representatives, a 
desire to conduct independent detention center inspections. 
Minister of Human Rights Wijdan Salim confirmed to PolOff 
June 13 that she opposes a prison inspections role for the 
Committee, due to concerns about its political motives. 
However, Ahmed Faze, deputy head of Sunni Deputy Prime 
Minister Salaam Zowbaie's Human Rights Office, on June 14 
reported that his office had formed a committee together with 
the CoR Human Rights Committee to conduct detention center 
inspections.  Complaining that his office had stopped 
receiving the Ministry of Human Rights' (MoHR) inspection 
reports, he pressed for US support for the initiative.  This 
development indicates increasing emphasis and coordination 
among Sunni politicians on human rights issues, which may 
place more pressure on the MoHR and the GoI.  END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
HUMAN RIGHTS MINISTER OPPOSES COR-LED PRISON INSPECTIONS 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
 
2. (C) On June 13, Minister of Human Rights Wijdan Salim 
confirmed that due to concerns about sectarian agendas, she 
opposes CoR Human Rights Committee inspections of Iraqi and 
Multi-National Forces Iraq (MNF-I) operated detention 
centers.  The Minister explained her view that the issue of 
detention centers is among the most politically controversial 
and must be handled carefully.  The Minister also rejected 
the idea of including committee members on the joint 
detention center inspections that she leads.  She said 
certain CoR Human Rights committee members might try to use 
information gathered during inspections to advance sectarian 
agendas through the media.  The Minister said committee 
members have in the past attempted to conduct no-notice 
inspections without informing MoHR.  Noting that only MoHR 
has the legal mandate to conduct such inspections, she said 
the committee could try to seek direct authorization from the 
Interior, Justice, and Defense Ministries to enter and 
inspect their detention centers. 
 
3. (C) The Minister also expressed interest in increasing the 
frequency of the MoHR-led joint inspections, which MNF-I 
supports logistically.  The last inspection occurred on 
February 21 at the Khadimiya 2nd National Police Division 
Headquarters detention center at Forward Operating Base (FOB) 
JUSTICE.  (Note: Two inspections have been conducted under 
the auspices of the joint committee for inspecting Iraqi 
prisons and detention centers, since the Council of Ministers 
reinstated the committee on November 2, 2006.  MoHR leads the 
committee, which includes representatives from the Inspector 
General (IG) Offices of MoHR; the Defense, Interior, Justice, 
and Health ministries; the Council of Ministers Secretariat; 
and the Public Prosecution Presidency. The inspections were 
suspended temporarily after the May 2006 inspection of the 
"Site 4" facility in Baghdad, where the joint inspection team 
discovered multiple abuse and torture victims (ref A). End 
note.) 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE SEEKS PRISON INSPECTIONS ROLE 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
4. (C) Over the last few months, the CoR Human Right 
Committee has repeatedly sought US and Human Rights Ministry 
support for the committee's involvement in detention center 
inspections.  For example, during a May 15 meeting with 
PolOff, Deputy Human Rights Committee Chair Dr. Harith Muhi 
al-Din Abid Al-Ubaidy (Tawafuq) asked that US forces help 
provide security for committee-led detention center 
inspections.  During an April 10 meeting with PolOff, five 
members of the CoR Human Rights Committee, including its 
Chair, Muhammad Muhammad Salih Al-Haidari (Eitilaf), also 
voiced the committee's desire to participate in joint 
inspections of Iraqi detention centers and gain access to 
MNF-I detention centers. 
 
5. (C) The Minister told PolOff on June 13 that 
representatives from the CoR Human Rights Committee had asked 
her many times to support their participation in inspections. 
 Deputy Human Rights Committee Chair Al-Ubaidy, while noting 
on May 15 that Minister Wijdan "feels our pain," insisted 
that the committee needs US support.  Other committee 
 
BAGHDAD 00002012  002 OF 003 
 
 
members, like Shatha Munder Abd al-Razzaq al-Ebousy 
(Tawafuq), have complained that they have tried to coordinate 
with Minister Wijdan, but she is often difficult to reach. 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
DEPUTY PM ZOWBAIE'S OFFICE SUPPORTS COR HR COMMITTEE 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
6. (C) On June 14, Ahmed Faze, deputy of Sunni Deputy PM 
Salaam Zowbaie's Human Rights Office, informed PolOff that 
his office had formed a committee with the CoR Human Rights 
Committee to perform detention center inspections.  Faze also 
urged US support for CoR-led inspections.  Faze argued that 
the CoR committee had the legal authority to conduct the 
inspections under Article 61 of the Constitution, which 
empowers the CoR to monitor the performance of the executive 
authority.  He had previously revealed to PolOff his 
intention to form the committee during a May 7 meeting, 
during which Deputy PM Zowbaie stressed the importance of 
human rights. 
 
7. (C) Faze claimed that Deputy PM Zowbaie's office had 
stopped receiving MoHR's detention center reports during the 
last month.  He previously complained of the lateness of the 
ministry's reports, noting that the joint committee submitted 
its report for its February 21 inspection (of the 2nd 
National Police Division Headquarters detention center at 
Khadimiya at FOB JUSTICE) to the Council of Ministers on 
April 11.  Iman Najim, Head of Human Rights in the Ministry 
of Defense's IG Office, separately informed PolOff that the 
report was completed and signed by her office a week after 
the inspection. 
 
---------------------------- 
COMMENT: COMPETING INTERESTS 
---------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Promoting human rights, especially by maintaining 
oversight over detention centers, which have overwhelmingly 
Sunni detainee populations, continues to be an important 
issue on the Sunni political agenda (ref B).  Sunni leaders 
will likely try to link human rights to other political 
issues.  For example, Sunni VP Tareq al-Hashemi, citing 
concerns over human rights abuses, is apparently holding up a 
GoI request to the CoR to extend the officially declared 
state of emergency. 
 
9. (C) The Sunni human rights agenda appears to be 
coordinated among the offices of VP al-Hashemi, Deputy PM 
Zowbaie, and the CoR Human Rights Committee.  This kind of 
coordination is not unprecedented, as al-Hashemi and Zowbaie 
had jointly protested the arrest and torture of nine of 
Tawafuq bloc leader Adnan Dulaymi's guards in late 2006 (ref 
C). 
 
10. (C) Minister Wijdan's concern about a sectarian, Sunni 
agenda underlying the Human Rights Committee's interest in 
oversight over detention centers may be valid.  She was 
equally skeptical of political motives behind similar 
inspections that Shiite politician Dr. Ahmed Chalabi 
organized under the Baghdad Security Plan (ref D).  As a 
Chaldean Christian, the Minister's stake in the detention 
issue appears purely political, rather than sectarian.  Her 
assessment that greater media exposure of prison conditions 
would inflame sectarian tensions is also valid, although 
torture within Iraqi prisons has already been widely 
reported. 
 
11. (C) Minister Wijdan seems to be balancing her frustration 
over insufficient support from the Prime Minister's Office 
for MoHR's inspections and her suspicions that the CoR Human 
Rights committee has sectarian interests (ref E).  Exhibiting 
some inconsistency, she did not present findings from the 
February 21 joint detention center inspection until April 11, 
although the report was reportedly complete by the end of 
February.  Her suggestion that CoR's Human Rights Committee 
directly seek the Interior ministry's permission to inspect 
its detention centers also contradicts her own complaints 
about the Interior Ministry's lack of cooperation with MoHR's 
inspections. 
 
12. (C) The CoR Human Rights Committee's concerns will likely 
not be easily dismissed, especially if members from the 
committee participate in the Council of Ministers drafting 
committee for the newly proposed Human Rights Ministry and 
High Commission on Human Rights laws (ref F).  Post will 
press MoHR to perform more joint inspections and share more 
timely information on detention center conditions with the 
CoR Human Rights Committee and the Deputy PM's Human Rights 
Office.  END COMMENT. 
 
 
BAGHDAD 00002012  003 OF 003 
 
 
---------------------------------------- 
A MULTI-SECTARIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE 
---------------------------------------- 
 
13. (C) CoR's Human Rights Committee is multi-sectarian, with 
the most vocal proponents of committee-led detention 
inspections being Sunni members from the Tawafuq party.  The 
names and party affiliations of the thirteen committee 
members are as follows: 
 
-- Committee Chair Muhammad Muhammad Salih Al-Haidari 
(Eitilaf) 
-- Committee Deputy Chair Dr. Harith Muhi al-Din Abid 
Al-Ubaidy (Tawafuq) 
-- Ahlam As'ad Muhammad Mustafa (Kurdish Alliance) 
-- Haifa Majli J'afar Al-Helfy (Eitilaf) 
-- Shatha Munder Abd al-Razzaq al-Ebousy (Tawafuq) 
-- Gian Kamil Hasan (Kurdish Alliance) 
-- Amir Thamer Ali Al-Karam (Eitilaf) 
-- Omar Ali Husayn (KIU) 
-- Amina Ghadban Mubarak al-Fayadh (Tawafuq) 
-- Aida Shareef Tawfeeq Ussayran (Iraqiyya) 
-- Ejara'a Faisal Odah (Eitilaf) 
-- Hanin Mahmud Ahmad al-Qeddo (Eitilaf) 
-- Fathiya Abdul Haleem Abdul Kareem (Eitilaf) 
CROCKER

 



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