Saturday, December 16, 2006

Iraq: Abduction of Women on the Rise

IRAQ: Abduction of Women on the Rise
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily December 15, 2006

BAGHDAD, Dec. 11 (IPS) -- Women face increased risk of abduction by militias and criminal gangs as lawlessness takes over the country.

Nobody is safe. Taysseer Al-Mashadani, the Sunni woman minister from the al-Tawafuq political party was abducted by members of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi army militia July 1 this year. After being held for nearly three months, she was only released after much pressure was applied from both the U.S. and Iraqi governments. Thousands of other women have not been so lucky. Many have been executed, assaulted, or released only after their families paid considerable ransom money. Few women like to talk about what they have to go through. "I was taken by Americans for three days recently," Um Ahmed told IPS in Baghdad. "They told me they would rape me if I didn't tell them where my husband was, but I really didn't know."

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