War Crimes Committed in the Battle for Mosul

Iraqis forced to flee fighting in Mosul seek shelter in camps for internally displaced people. (Photo credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Iraqis forced to flee fighting in Mosul seek shelter in camps for internally displaced people (Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images).

By Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International from Mosul, Iraq

Long lines of cars full of terrified families jammed the road as I left Mosul on June 25. The mass exodus is testament to the affect on civilians since fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) took control of the city.

As we headed east towards Erbil, militants from ISIS were indiscriminately shelling Hamdanyah, home to some of Iraq’s religious and ethnic minorities.

All sides are committing war crimes in the raging battle for control of Iraqi territory and resources.

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Iraq’s Crisis: 3 Quick Points for U.S. Policymakers

Kurdish Peshmerga forces stand guard in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on June 17 (Photo Credit: Onur Coban/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

Kurdish Peshmerga forces stand guard in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on June 17 (Photo Credit: Onur Coban/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

As the latest crisis in Iraq unfolds, here are three basic points for U.S. policymakers to keep in mind:

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I Am Proof: Torture Exists in the United States

Darrell Cannon (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).

Darrell Cannon (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).

By Darrell Cannon, Torture Survivor and Activist 

My name is Darrell Cannon. I’m here to share the story of more than 100 people who were tortured by Chicago police under the command of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge.

I am a survivor. And I need your help.

On Nov. 2, 1983, a contingent of police officers burst into my family’s apartment and arrested me for murder.

On the way to Chicago’s Area 2 headquarters, they warned me that they had “a scientific way of interrogating n******.”

They later drove me to a secluded location, where they forced a shotgun in my mouth and pulled the trigger over and over again, making me believe it was loaded each time. They pulled my pants down and shocked me with a cattle prod on my genitals.

I confessed.

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Amnesty Goes On the Ground as Repression Worsens in Turkey

A man protects a woman as they face a police officer dispersing protesters who gathered near Taksim square in Istanbul as the police blocked access to the square during the one year anniversary of the Gezi park and Taksim square demonstrations (Photo Credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images).

A man protects a woman as they face a police officer dispersing protesters who gathered near Taksim square in Istanbul as the police blocked access to the square during the one year anniversary of the Gezi park and Taksim square demonstrations (Photo Credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images).

On the first anniversary of the Gezi Protests and their brutal suppression in Turkey, central Istanbul resembled nothing so much as a city under occupation. Public transportation into the city center was cancelled. Ferry service from the Asian to the European side of the metropolis was ended by the late afternoon. You could leave, but you couldn’t come back.

This is the image of the new Turkey, where dissent is stifled with overwhelming force and massive police presence.

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What’s Behind Turkey’s Crackdown on the May 1 Protests?

Turkish riot police use water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters during a May Day demonstration on May 1, (Photo Credit: Burak Kara/Getty Images).

Turkish riot police use water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters during a May Day demonstration on May 1, (Photo Credit: Burak Kara/Getty Images).

A History of Protest

For decades, May Day celebrations in Turkey have been an important litmus test of the government’s tolerance for freedom of expression and assembly. At the center of this history have been demonstrations in Taksim Square, arguably the “hub” of modern Istanbul and, where, in 1977, dozens of protesters were killed in what has been termed the “Taksim Square Massacre.”

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A New Low for Internet Freedom in Turkey

People hold placards reading 'Will you censor the streets?' during a demonstration against new Internet controls approved by the Turkish Parliament (Photo Credit: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images) .

People hold placards reading ‘Will you censor the streets?’ during a demonstration against new Internet controls approved by the Turkish Parliament (Photo Credit: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images) .

With a little over a week to go before important municipal elections, the Turkish government blocked access to Twitter for millions of its citizens late last night.

Writing from Turkey, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey described the move as “a desperate and futile measure, the latest move in the AKP’s clampdown on freedom of expression.” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

5 Reasons President Obama Should Speak Out For Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia

Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif, who now lives in Dubai, flashes the sign for victory in solidarity with Saudi women campaigning for women's right to drive in Saudi Arabia (Photo Credit: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images).

Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif, who now lives in Dubai, flashes the sign for victory in solidarity with Saudi women campaigning for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia (Photo Credit: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images).

President Barack Obama has an opportunity this month to lead from behind on women’s rights in Saudi Arabia – behind, that is, a woman driver.

The president is visiting the repressive Gulf kingdom this month. In a letter delivered to the White House, Amnesty International is calling on him to take a stand on women’s rights by meeting with the female leaders of a campaign to end the ban against women driving. We are also calling on him to have a woman Secret Service driver himself during his visit.

Take action to demand the president support women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.

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One Big Step Closer Toward Transparency on CIA Torture

Yesterday, President Obama voiced his support for the release of the CIA torture report (Photo Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/GettyImages).

Yesterday, President Obama voiced his support for the release of the CIA torture report (Photo Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/GettyImages).

By Natalie Butz, Communications Specialist at Amnesty International USA

On Wednesday, President Obama announced that he strongly supports declassification and public release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture since 9/11.

This is a huge step forward in our effort to release the report! Release of this report will help us ensure that the CIA never uses torture again.

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