Iraq Accused Of Cruel Punishment

Amputation of arms, legs and ears have become standard in Iraq over the past year for robbery, military desertion and other crimes, Human Rights Watch alleged Monday.

The U.S.-based monitoring organization said governments and businesses planning to deal with Baghdad should try to persuade Iraq to halt “this cruelty” regardless of their feelings about economic sanctions, now in their fifth year to force compliance with U.N. resolutions.

Beginning last June, President Saddam Hussein’s government ordered amputation, branding and other punishments - illegal under international human rights treaties - as a deterrent to rising crime. Baghdad blamed the crime wave on poverty and desperation caused by the sanctions.

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