Human Rights Watch: Prosecuting ISIS suspects is crucial for their countless victims to obtain justice

The United States has transferred foreign nationals suspected of Islamic State ties from northern Syria to Iraq without apparent regard for the risk of torture and unfair trials in Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today.

“Prosecuting ISIS suspects is crucial for their countless victims to obtain justice, but that won’t be achieved by transferring detainees to abusive situations,” said Nadim Houry, terrorism/counterterrorism director at Human Rights Watch. “The US should not be transferring ISIS suspects from Syria to Iraq or elsewhere if they will be at risk of torture or an unfair trial.”

International human rights and humanitarian law prohibits the transfer of detainees to countries where they are at serious risk of torture and mistreatment. In general, suspects linked to ISIS have been routinely denied fair trials and often face torture in Iraq.The US should not transfer ISIS suspects detained in Syria to Iraq or another country if it would put them at risk of torture and other abuse, and detainees should be able to contest such transfers, Human Rights Watch said.

The defendants reported their capture in and transfer from Syria during the trials. Some alleged due process violations and, in two cases, being tortured in Iraq. A fifth detainee, a Palestinian national from Gaza, was also transferred from northeast Syria to Iraqi custody but Human Rights Watch does not know if he has been charged in Iraq.

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