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Iraqi leader tortured rival tribe.

Almost half of all households in southern Iraq suffered killings, torture and abuse at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime in the 12 years leading up to the dictator's downfall, US researchers have said.

A survey of 1,991 men and women revealed for the first time the full scale of human rights abuses in the region before the second Iraq war.

The study, conducted in three major cities in southern Iraq, covered the period between 1991 and 2003. It was carried out by the US organisation Physicians for Human Rights based in Boston. Those taking part averaged 38 years of age and were almost wholly Sh'ia Muslims, who had been victimised by the Ba'ath party regime.

The researchers, led by Dr Lynn Amowitz, wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Associa-tion: 'Overall, 47 per cent of those interviewed reported one or more of the following abuses among themselves and household members since 1991: torture, killings, disappearance, forced 'military service', beating, gunshot wounds, kidnappings, being held hostage, and ear amputation. 'Ba'ath party regime-affiliated groups were identified most often (95 per cent) as the perpetrators of the abuses.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 24, 2004
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