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Amnesty International: Iraqi Forces Torture, Kill Sunni Men Fleeing IS 

Smoke rises as people flee the clashes between Iraqi security forces and members of the Islamic State group in the area of Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 18, 2016. Amnesty International is asking Iraqi and Kurdish forces not to detain, torture or kill male Sunni civilians.

Amnesty International reports that Iraqi government forces and paramilitaries have arbitrarily detained, tortured and killed male Sunni civilians who have escaped from Islamic State areas and are suspected of having ties to the extremists.

“As the battle to retake Mosul gets underway, it is crucial that Iraqi authorities take steps to ensure these appalling abuses do not happen again,” Amnesty said in a report published Tuesday. “There can be no justification for extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture or arbitrary detention.”

Amnesty based its report on interviews with more than 470 people, including many who escaped Islamic State only to be suspected of supporting the militants and taking part in their crimes.

Some Sunnis say they were held in an abandoned farmhouse with blood on the walls, and they talked about how they and others were denied food and water and were hit with shovels, metal pipes and cables.

They say soldiers stepped on them and burned them with cigarettes and hot wax.

Amnesty says one group of 16 males, including four boys, who escaped from the Fallujah region in May, gave themselves up to men wearing Iraqi military and police uniforms and were immediately executed.

Amnesty says Iraqi and Kurdish authorities give security screenings to all males between 15 and 65 who escaped Islamic State-controlled areas.

But it says the process is unclear and flawed.

Amnesty says Iraqi authorities have not responded to its findings, while the Kurds deny the allegations.