Human Rights

Iraq: ‘Abu Riyadh’ Recalls Torture And Cruelty Under ISIS


Abu Riyadh, an elderly man from Rawa in Iraq, was left blinded and with kidney failure following ISIS' torture. Now, he is struggling to afford his treatment.

One year and a half after ISIS was defeated in Iraq by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), the repercussions of the militant group continue to haunt many victims.

Abu Riyadh, a senior man from the Rawa District in western Anbar Province, continues to suffer from illnesses that he contracted as a result of ISIS’ torture. Furthermore, due to the poor conditions in which he and his family now find themselves, he is unable to afford to seek treatment for his illnesses.

“For over seven days, I was subjected to various forms of torture and flogging until I suffered kidney failure and lost my eyesight due to diabetes,” said Abu Riyadh.

To make matters worse, during ISIS’ rule of the Rawa district, Abu Riyadh’s only son was taken in by the militant group and tortured until he died, leaving him and his wife childless and unable to care for themselves.

“My son tried to escape to Syria, but he was arrested by ISIS militants who tortured him in front of his father,” said Um Riyadh, Abu Riyadh’s wife. “When our son was tortured before him, and he couldn’t do anything to help his son, he lost his eyesight. After a while, they came and arrested him. When he returned, he returned ill and could no longer drive a car.”

According to Um Riyadh, her husband, who was diagnosed with corneal ulcers, kidney failure, high blood pressure and diabetes, has no means of working or seeking treatment in the displacement camp in which they currently reside, forcing them into deeper poverty and despair.

Stories like Abu Riyadh’s are not uncommon in Iraq’s displacement camps and liberated areas.

Thousands of families continue to face physical and psychological issues as a result of the horrors that they encountered during ISIS’ rule over parts of the country.

With aid deliveries and support from aid organisations reducing due to donor fatigue, these families have nowhere to go, and no way of seeking help.

This has sparked many to call upon the Iraqi Government and international organisations like the UN to aid them in their distress.

While the Iraqi Government has allocated money for reconstruction and aid in the budget bill that was passed in late January 2019, activists in these areas say that the money is not enough to rebuild and aid those affected by ISIS.