Kuwaitis being tortured, observers say

January 09, 1991|By Susan Hansen | Susan Hansen,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- As many as 600 Kuwaitis have been summarily killed and hundreds more tortured and held without trial in dozens of makeshift detention centers in Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, human rights advocates told the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday.

An estimated 5,000 Kuwaiti nationals have been arbitrarily arrested, according to human rights activists, who said they had collected information detailing the use of 38 methods of torture -- including beating, electroshock and hanging -- by Iraqi forces in Kuwait.

"The evidence of gross human rights violations today in Iraq and occupied Kuwait is overwhelming," said John G. Healey, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

Mr. Healey also said that other Middle Eastern governments had posted equally poor human rights records and cautioned against singling out Iraq to serve current political purposes.

"There is a human rights crisis of massive dimensions not just in Iraq, but in most countries in the Middle East," he said.

He specifically mentioned the government of Turkey, which he said had tortured tens of thousands of its citizens in the last decade, and he said that human rights violations also were continuing in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Morocco and Libya.

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