On Oct. 22, a team of Kurdish soldiers, backed up by elite commandos from the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, raided an ISIS prison compound in the Iraqi town of Hawija, where Kurdish intelligence indicated dozens of their own peshmerga fighters were being held. It turned out there were no Kurds in the prison, but 69 hostages were freed, and more than 20 ISIS fighters were killed.
The Kurds also took six ISIS fighters as their prisoners. And now, U.S. officials and humanitarian aid workers in the region tell The Daily Beast, it appears those prisoners are being tortured in Kurdish custody, in violation of international law.
“I am sure they are being tortured, no question,” said a U.S. defense official in Iraq who is familiar with the raid and spoke on the condition of anonymity. He noted that Americans do not have access to them, but added, “You have to remember where we are. Torture is pervasive.”
A human rights worker in the region told the Daily Beast that “Kurdish authorities haven’t disclosed where the prisoners are being held and that he, too, thinks that is because the prisoners are being tortured.”
As Obama empties Guantanamo, his administration appears to be disinterested in what happens to captured terrorists. According to the Daily Beast, “Washington hasn’t asked the Kurds for access to the ISIS prisoners, and the U.S. defense official in Iraq said he doesn’t believe the U.S. military has formally raised the issue with the Kurds, either.”
The defense official told the Daily Beast that the fate of a handful of ISIS fighters “is low on our priority list.”