Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Saddam Executed Hundreds, Mostly Shiites, Exiles Say

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Saddam Executed Hundreds, Mostly Shiites, Exiles Say

Article excerpt

Iraqi exiles claim that Saddam Hussein's regime recently slaughtered hundreds of prisoners at Iraq's Radwaniyeh death camp.

Most were said to be Shiite Muslims who have been rounded up by the Baghdad government since an ill-fated uprising in southern Iraq right after the nation lost the Persian Gulf War in early 1991.

Ayatollah Mohammed Bakr al-Hakim, a senior Shiite cleric and leading dissident, and Hussein Sharastani, who monitors human rights abuses in Iraq, told The Associated Press in separate interviews that refugees from Iraq reported that the executions took place three months ago.

Many of the victims were buried in mass graves, they said. But they noted that hundreds of bodies have been delivered to their families for burial in recent weeks - a move apparently aimed at intimidating the Shiites.

Sharastani, head of Gulf War Victims, a human rights group in Tehran, said 150 bodies had been delivered to al-Amarah, a southern Shiite city.

Sharastani said that he also had received similar reports from other places and that he believes as many as 2,000 prisoners were executed.

"From past experience, we know that not all the bodies of people executed are returned, so we calculate from the number returned that around 2,000 inmates were executed in Radwaniyeh, and possibly elsewhere," he said.

The claims could not be independently confirmed. The government does not permit outside observers into Iraq to monitor human rights, and the few journalists allowed in are heavily restricted.

Amnesty International, the human rights organization based in London, reported in November that hundreds of people were being rounded up by military and intelligence units.

The government's actions are in defiance of U.N. Security Council Resolution 688, which bars Saddam from persecuting his own people.

Despite Iraq's recent compliance with Security Council resolutions on the destruction and monitoring of Iraq's mass-destruction weapons programs, the United States opposes the removal of U. …

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