Life imprisonment and death sentences: Abbas village traumatized by "testimonies from within"

Life imprisonment and death sentences: Abbas village traumatized by "testimonies from within"

Shafaq News / Residents of Abbas village in Nimrud district, south of Mosul, recount their severe suffering caused by secret informants and forced confessions.

Residents told Shafaq News Agency about how a security force raided the village in August 2017, the trauma they endured after numerous locals were arrested, and the role of an intelligence officer in the operation.

A secret informant in the village

According to local elder Fathi Hassan Abbawi, "a security team raided the village and arrested eight young people, detained and forced them to confess under torture and coercion."

Abbawi went on to say that they "received information of their sons being tortured, forced to sign confessions, and being pressured to accuse each other," stressing, "the matter was not publicized until several months later. We learned that a private informant from within the village and a superior intelligence officer were behind the whole thing."

The village mayor was forced to testify against its sons

Hamad Ibrahim, one of the village's elders and the father of its mayor, said, "We did everything we could to free these innocent people and even testified in court, yet seven of them were sentenced to life imprisonment, and one of them to death."

"We later discovered that my son Hazem, the village mayor, had forcibly testified against the villagers who involuntarily confessed under duress," Ibrahim continued.

"They threatened to hurt my wife and daughters"

The mayor stated, "The intelligence officer compelled me to testify that they (the arrestees) are ISIS militants who have pledged allegiance to the terrorist group and joined its ranks. Furthermore, they warned me that if I did not testify against them, they would force them to confess against me and take my wives and daughters to the police station, hinting that they would assault them if I did not."

"I then testified against the arrestees", he added.

Hazem indicated, "all the detainees are innocent. Everyone in the village knows they are."

"I could not say anything until the intelligence officer was relocated to another district. In 2019, I went to the police station and filed a lawsuit against him. All the files and papers related to the case are at the Nimrud police station."

"A secret informant named Zaydoun was in the village and responsible for several arrests. Some of those arrested were released when their families bargained and paid for their sons' release. However, those who were detained the last time did not pay money since they believed they would be released owing to their innocence, but they were astonished when they were sentenced to life in prison", the mayor added.

"I could not say or mutter a word out of fear for my wives and daughters," he said, adding, "in the next trial, I would testify alongside the village elders and demand the arrest of the officer who caused this tragedy. As for Zaydoun, he is currently detained and is being investigated."

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