The trial of jihadists in Iraq: Will prisons become the cradle of jihadist propaganda again?

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UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — As Iraq prepares to receive and prosecute Islamic state fighters after their defeat in the two countries, analysts fear that Iraqi prisons may once again become the cradle of jihadist propaganda and a focus of new extremist organizations or the return of old organizations to life.

The prisons were often a hotbed of jihadist ideology. The leader of the Islamic State Organization, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, emerged from the US-built Boca prison after they invaded Iraq in 2003 in the south of the country and was closed in 2009.

“A large number of those” arrested “in Iraq and Syria during the military operations are legitimate, sighted and seduced. They have the power to argue, evidence, brainwashing and persuasion,” said Fadel Abu Ragheef, an analyst for strategic affairs.

During the operations carried out by the Iraqi government forces against the extremist organization, the most recent in 2017, the arrest of thousands of elements from the organization.

There were also reports of the transfer of jihadi detainees arrested in Syria during the battles fought by Syrian Democratic Forces to Iraq.

A month after the end of the “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, it was clear that Iraq, on the proposal of Western countries seeking to prevent the return of foreign fighters to it, agreed to host trials, especially those concerning the thousands of detainees who remain in the hands of the Kurds of Syria after the defeat

The organization of the Islamic state from the last pocket in the east of the country.

Iraqi officials told AFP that Baghdad had asked the fighters’ countries for up to $ 2 billion to cover the costs of trials and harboring those in their prisons, unable to bear the burden.

– “New Boca Academy” –

However, the Iraqi prison areas do not accommodate the large numbers expected.

“The cells in Iraq are very crowded,” says Bilqis Willy of Human Rights Watch, adding that “we trusted people who died during detention, not only because of torture, but because the prisons are overcrowded, so the prisons that are being used are certainly not enough to receive this Estimated additional number of thousands”.

Security and judicial sources confirmed to AFP that the number of prisoners of the Ministry of Justice only now exceeds the maximum capacity of prisons by a half and a 20-meter cell is supposed to accommodate about 20 prisoners, which now has about 50 prisoners.

The expert in the jihadist groups Hisham al-Hashemi told AFP that overcrowding in prisons may be difficult to “isolation by the offense”, increasing the risk of recruitment.

“The cells become academies,” he said, “If one person is contaminated with ideas of extremism, he can recruit everyone.”

Abu Ragheef explains that most of those who are attracted are those who do not have a wide knowledge of religion and drown “in the organizational chart … and the play of the oppressor” of the Sunnis who were “persecuted” after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Since then on the joints of governance.

Faced with concerns about the return of practices that have fueled tensions previously, Abu Ragheef stresses the need to classify detainees, separating them from solitary confinement, or else “I expect a new Boca Academy.”

The famous Boka prison, which was dozens of kilometers from the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border, was home to more than 20,000 detainees, especially former Baath party leaders and Sunni jihadists, to the so-called Jihad University.

As for the Sufan Center for Security Analysis, Baghdad and its allies have yet to find a suitable response to a similar threat, saying that “the Iraqi judicial system is completely exhausted and does not meet the challenge.”

– Death is the solution? –

Al-Hashemi pointed out that “prisons are often pages of jihadist stages”, fearing that the stage of “isolation” (intellectual) experienced by detainees will develop into a stage known as the management of networks inside the prisons, Liquidate those who are classified by the prisoner as having colluded in the process of his arrest.

According to administrative sources from inside prisons, most of the messages are transmitted during interviews between prisoners and their wives, mothers or sisters, so women have a big role in this process.

According to Western sources, there is a major concern in attempts to break the prison, the implementation of attacks paving the way for the escape, which happened in Iraq.

During the years of insurgency and sectarian violence that followed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, hundreds of al Qaeda fighters, including foreigners, managed to escape from prison.

In a country that ranks 12th on the list of the most corrupt countries in the world, corruption and bribery have played a big role in this regard over the past years. “Corruption inside prisons is very large,” Hashemi said.

“The authorities are very conscious and do not want anything like Abu Ghraib or Boca to happen again,” she said.

Amid a lack of a clear plan to deal with this dilemma and the lack of projects to build new prisons, “this is part of the reason why many suspects have received the death penalty.”

“I think the intent of the execution is that these people will not get out of prison, so from Iraq’s point of view, the problem is avoided,” she said.

This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.

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