Fears of new jihadist" academies" as Iraqi prisons fill.
BAGHDAD: As Iraq Thousands Of Locals And Foreigners Accused Of Joining The Islamic State Group, Experts Warn That Their Prisons Could Become Again" Academies" For Jihadists.
Prison was a pivotal moment for many prominent jihadists — not least of them , IS's Iraq i supremo who remains at large despite the collapse of his "caliphate" in March .
Baghdadi was held in , a sprawling US-run complex in the southern Iraq i desert, where he is thought to have essentially "come of age" as a jihadist leader .
"For many members of such groups, prison was one of multiple 'stages' of jihad," said Hisham al-Hashemi, an expert in Iraq i jihadist movements .
They Ran Their Own Religious Studies Courses And Even Planned Attacks On Civilians Or Ordered The Assassination Of Security Forces From Within The Walls Of The Prison.
" The Cells Become The Equivalent Of The Academies, Even If There Is Only One Prisoner With Extremist Thoughts, He Can Recruit The Rest" Hashemi Told AFP.
Iraq has already condemned hundreds of its own nationals as well as scores of foreigners to life in prison for joining IS .
It has begun trial proceedings for another 900 Iraq is recently repatriated from neighbouring Syria and has offered to try foreigners stuck in legal limbo there, too .
But Your Prison System Is Subject Of Critical Criticism. Defense Groups Accused Security Forces Of Using Circumstantial Evidence To Stop People Due To Terrorism Charges, Obtain Confessions Under Torture, And Keep Suspects In Overcrowded Cells Without Access To Lawyers.
The Cells Built To House Some 20 Detainees Are Often Filled With 50, According To A Source Told AFP That Works In Prisons, And Prisoners Are Often Trapped By Smuggling Phones Or Transmitting Information During Family Visits, Especially To Their Wives.
Those Detained For Minor Crimes Are Often Held With Hardened Jihadists, Which Has Facilitated The Recruitment In The Past, Said Security Analyst Fadel Abu Raghif.
" The Majority Of The Detainees Were Islamic Jurists And Thinkers, Capable Of Discussing, Providing Evidence, Washing The Brain And Persuading People," He Told AFP.
To Start, Those Recruited In The Jail Are Not Religiously Orthodox, But Instead, Have Been Attracted By The Rhetoric That Plays With A Narrative Of Oppression, Added Abu Raghif.
After The Overthrow Of Saddam Hussein By The Forces Directed By The United States In 2003, Insurgent Groups Took Advantage Of The Feeling Of Marginalization Among The Sunitas Of The Country As Food For The Recruitment.
More Than Fifteen Years Later, Observers Fear That Same Perception Of Persecution Is Back.
The Soufan Center, a New York-based think tank, said Iraq "suppressed, but never actually addressed" the grievances of its Sunni communities .
The Deployment Of Shia Paramilitary Hashed Al-Shaabi Units In Sunni Majority Areas Re-captured Since The IS Has Fueled Sectarian Resentment Among Local Populations, Wrote Center This Month.
That Wrath Could Pave The Way For A Repetition Of The Mid-2000s:" As It Happened Before With Camp Bucca, These Detention Centers Are Turning To A Cultivating Broth For Radicalization."
Iraq 's government has declined to provide figures on detention centres or prisoners, including how many are facing terrorism-related charges, although some studies estimate 20,000 are being held for purported IS links .
Some Facilities Have Been Closed In Recent Years, Including The Abu Ghraib Complex That Became Famous For The Abuse Of Prisoners During The US-run Occupation.
Others Were Shaken By Prison Riot And Leaks That Allowed Detainees Accused Of" Terrorism" . Escape . Now, With The Arrival Of More Repatriated Fighters In The Next Few Months, Observers Fear That An Already Tense System Will Flood.
" The Prisons That Are Being Used Definitely Do Not Have The Sufficient Capacity To Potentially Hold Thousands Of Additional Persons That Will Be Transferred" Belkis Wille Warned Human Rights Observer .
HRW has called on the international community to help Iraq improve its judicial processes and revamp its jails -- but Iraq , Wille said, may have something else in mind .
The Authorities Are Very Conscious, And Do Not Want Something Like Abu Ghraib Or Bucca To Happen Again, She Told AFP.
It Is A Part Of The Reason Why So Many Of The Suspects Are Getting The Death Penalty Or Life (in) Prison. I Think The Intention Is That These People Would Not Come Out Of Prison, So You Would Not Have The Same Dynamic. "