Iraqi Deportations and Hostage Taking Trail is Proceeding

A case which was first put to The Special Iraqi Criminal Tribunal on 24th July 2004, finally began on 26th January 2009.

The case dates back to April 1980 when, six month before he invaded Iran, Saddam Hussein commenced the deportation of over a million Iraqi citizens to Iran – roughly half of them Faily Kurds and the others were Arabs, Persians and Turkomans. Their belongings, homes, businesses, money and valuables, passports and citizenship documents were all confiscated. To silence protest on the part of the deportees, and to prevent retaliatory action, the Iraqi authorities detained members of each family as hostages – approximately 1 detainee for every 10 deportees. There may initially have been as many as 100,000 such detainees - roughly have of them Kurds although the exact number is hard to estimate. Many of these hostages were released quite soon;most of those remaining were held in Abu Ghraib prison.

During the Iraqi-Iran war (September 1980 – August 1988) many of the remaining hostages were sent to the front to be used as human shields or to clear mine-fields with their feet. Others died as the result of being used in chemical or biological warfare experiments. Still more died from disease or from the harsh conditions in their places of detention. Between 1986 and 1989 a further small number of hostages with immediate families still in Iraq were release.

The remaining hostages were accused of being of “ Iranian Origin” , although most of them were doing military service when detained (it was against Iraqi law for non – Iraqi citizens to serve in the forces). They were held in, and moved frequently between, some 30 prisons and concentration camps through out Iraq.

Four of these – Dywania, ArAr, Qualat Al-Salman, Samawa – the estimated to be holding 20 to 25 thousand hostages between them, and lie in the area which was over run by the coalition forces in 1991 during the Kuwait war. All efforts to discover the fate of these prisoners have so far come to nothing, although the whole area was under military satellite surveillance and somebody must have known.

How many of the hostages were still alive in 2003, just prior to the invasion, is hard to estimate as contact with most of them was lost in 1984, and we know of no contact since 1988. However, the Committee for The release of Hostages and Detainees in Iraq (CROHDI) had the names and details of 936 of them and calculated that about three times that number, whose relatives had too apprehensive to give names and details to the committee, were still unaccounted for.

When the prisons were thrown open in the days immediately after Saddam’s downfall, CROHDI was able to identify only 230 of the captives on its list. They were all dead. Soon it became apparent that the rest had disappeared and the search is still continuing for their fate and whereabouts.

In a letter to Mr. Araf Shaheen, Head of The Special Iraqi Criminal Tribunal, dated 26th January 2009 (as the attached document), Dr. Kamal Ketuly, Chairman of CROHDI, outlines the case against Saddam Hussein and his regime. He also calls for the extradition and trials of the former Foreign Minister, Mohmmed Saeed Al-Sahaaf ( Comical Ali) now living in Abu Dhabi and Rahab Taha and Huda Mahdi Saleh Amaash – the two women doctors who headed the programme of chemical and biological experiments on many of the hostages. They are who are now living in Jordan, having been release from prison.

He claims that some of the prominent British and other politicians he met as mediators with Saddam, between 1984 and 1995, knew the fate of the disappeared hostages but said nothing.

He calls for the fate and whereabouts of the remains of the hostages to be discovered and made known and he also calls for compensation and rehabilitation for the deportees and their families, and strengthening of the new “Disputed Ownership” law to enable the dispossessed to regain their properties and belonging.

The trial will resume on 28th June 2009. There are 15 defendants in all, including Tarik Aziz, Ali Hassan Al-Majeed (Chemical Ali).and two of Saddam’s half – brothers, Watban & Sabaawi.

The full details of the case presented to the Tribunal and the back grounds of this case can be found on the CROHDI website: or
Dr. Kamal Aziz Ketuly (Academic Lecturer), Chairman: The Committee for the Release of Hostages and Detainees in Iraq, E-mail:

18th June 2009