Yezidi woman’s shocking detention must end, says Amnesty to Kurdistan

Yezidi women. File photo
A Yezidi women with her daughter. File photo

( Baghdad – In a statement issued to the press, Amnesty International said that Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government must immediately end the shocking and arbitrary detention of a Yezidi woman held without trial for nearly two years after surviving captivity at the hands of ISIS.

“Bassema Darwish, a 34-year-old mother of three from Babira village in Nineveh Governorate, has been detained by the Kurdistan authorities since October 2014. She was accused of complicity with ISIS forces who killed three Peshmerga members when they arrived at the house where Darwish was being held captive in Zummar in north-west Iraq,” the statement said.

Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director Philip Luther said, “It is shocking that the KRG, which has consistently condemned ISIS atrocities against the Yezidi community, is holding a survivor of these abuses on terrorism charges and denying her basic legal rights. Yezidi women abducted by ISIS have suffered truly harrowing abuses including rape and sexual slavery.”
“Bassema Darwish should be granted unhindered access to her relatives, lawyers and independent international monitors,” Luther added.

Meanwhile, the head of investigations at the Kurdistan Anti-Terrorism Directorate, who met Amnesty in person last month, said that when Peshmerga forces arrived at the site where Darwish was being held captive in Zummar, she deceived them by saying the house was empty. He claimed ISIS fighters hidden inside then killed three members of the Peshmerga as they entered the house.

It may be mentioned here that relatives, activists and officials told Amnesty that Darwish was abducted by ISIS, along with her husband and 33 other relatives, on August 3, 2014, as they tried to flee Sinjar, which was under ISIS attack. The fate of 31 of her relatives remains unknown.

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