Saturday, April 07, 2007

Illegal Kidnapping

In January, I wrote about US forces in Iraq kidnapping five Iranians working in a diplomatic office in Iraq. As an update, Iraq is pressuring the US to release the diplomat:

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The Iraqi Foreign Ministry continues to push for the release of five Iranians detained during a U.S. military raid in January, Iraq's Deputy Foreign Minister Labid Abawi told CNN on Tuesday. ...

"We've always been assured that they will be released as soon as the investigation is complete," Abawi said Tuesday. "We have raised this matter many times and we hope that this will end soon."

Iran complained to the United Nations that the raid was in "clear violation of international conventions" because it took place at an Iranian consulate.

The United States maintains its forces raided an Iranian liaison office that does not have the same diplomatic status as a consulate.

The Geneva Conventions state that embassies and foreign missions in countries are immune from search, arrest and detention.

So, just to be clear, Iraq, a supposedly sovereign nation, has to ask their "liberators" to free foreign citizens illegally kidnapped from diplomatic offices.

In other kidnapping related news, an Iranian official, supposedly abducted by Iraqi forces, is claiming that the CIA tortured him:

TEHRAN, Iran - An Iranian diplomat freed two months after being abducted in Iraq accused the CIA of torturing him during his detention, state television reported Saturday. The United States immediately denied any involvement in the Iranian's disappearance or release. ...

Jalal Sharafi, who was freed on Tuesday, said the CIA questioned him about Iran's relations with Iraq and assistance to various Iraqi groups, according to state television.

"Once they heard my response that Iran merely has official relations with the Iraqi government and officials, they intensified tortures and tortured me through different methods days and nights," he said. ...

The television quoted Sharafi as saying he was approached by agents while shopping in Baghdad. The agents allegedly showed him Iraqi Defense Ministry identification papers and were driving U.S. coalition vehicles.

He said they took him to a base near Baghdad airport and interrogated him in both Arabic and English, questioning him mainly about Iran's influence in Iraq and assistance to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government and Iraqi groups. Sharafi did not provide additional details about his captors or their nationalities.

I'm sure he's not telling the truth. The CIA would never use torture on people they consider enemy combatants. But, um, why would Iraqi interrogators question an Iranian official in English?