IS-linked children tortured, jailed in Iraq, says report

Hundreds of children in detention are being tortured by Iraqi and Kurdish governments to confess that they are Islamic State (IS) members, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says.

At least 1,500 children have been charged with terrorism offences based on false accusations and forced confessions while

185 foreign children have already been convicted on terrorism charges and jailed, said the report citing Iraqi government officials.

Such concocted and baseless charges and wrongful convictions and detentions are against international law which recognises children recruited by armed groups as victims.

They will have lifelong negative impact on many children. Sentencing hearings are often conducted in haste and last just a few minutes. Even if some children are freed, they live in fear as they are vulnerable to revenge attacks, said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director for HRW.

According to Becker, the Kurdistan Regional Government extracts confessions from children by beating them with plastic pipes, electric cables, or rods, giving them electric shocks and forcing them into stress positions.

Becker said children involved in armed conflicts are entitled to rehabilitation and reintegration, not torture and detention.