IRBIL, Iraq — The Iraqi government said it has begun an investigation into one of its elite police units amid allegations that security forces have committed human rights abuses, including torture, rape and extrajudicial killings, in the battle to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants.
The inquiry comes after the German magazine Der Spiegel published a report by Iraqi photojournalist Ali Arkady this week detailing abuses allegedly committed by the Interior Ministry’s emergency response division. On Thursday, ABC television broadcast footage recorded by Arkady, who had been embedded with that unit.
One video broadcast by ABC and carrying a warning of graphic content shows a blindfolded man balanced on a stool in the middle of a room, his arms bound and fastened to the ceiling. A man in military uniform kicks the stool away, leaving the blindfolded man hanging and whimpering.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that it would “investigate the matter clearly and impartially” and “take legal action in accordance with the laws.” The emergency response division said the report was fabricated.
In a video posted online, the division accuses Arkady of stealing cameras from a public affairs soldier and says he is wanted by Iraqi “authorities.”