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ICC Note: Despite the distraction of the war in Iraq Christians are being persecuted for their faith by the local police. One young man was beaten only because he asked the police to stop insulting the Christians. In a situation like that, where do you go for justice? The police, the people there to protect the community are the ones causing the problem.

Assyrian International News Agency

Kurdish Militia, Iraqi Police Terrorizing Assyrians in North Iraq

7/28/2006 Iraq (AINA) — Attacks against Assyrian Christian civilians (also known as Syriacs and Chaldeans) residing in the Nineveh Plain, north Iraq, have recently escalated at the hands of local Iraqi police as well as Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) paramilitary security squads. On June 30, 2006 three Iraqi Police loyal to the KDP Police Chief in the Hamdaniya District of the Nineveh governorate began assaulting civilian passers by with anti-Christian and racist slurs. The policemen had just come off duty but were still carrying their automatic weapons. As the Iraqi police continued their tirade against Christians in the overwhelmingly Assyrian Christian town, Steven Basim, a young man, left his car to plead with the police to refrain from their insults and threats.

The police officers approached the man and one immediately started to strike him squarely on the side of his head with his weapon. As the young man fell to the ground bleeding, the other two policemen then also joined in the beating. Two other Assyrian men attempted to intervene and were also beaten.

As a group of onlookers began to approach and question the police regarding the slurs and beating, the police began firing into the crowd. Fearing they could not control the angry crowd, the police called for reinforcements.

At 6:30 pm, the police dragged their bleeding, half conscious victim to the police station. Fearing for his life, a group of young Assyrian Christian locals decided to rescue the man from his kidnappers. The local priest, Fr. Loius Kassab, who has enjoyed considerable financial support and favor from the KDP occupying forces asked the group of Assyrians to allow him to intervene to secure the release. As time dragged on, the group of Assyrians became increasingly concerned that the badly beaten man may die in custody. Finally, the group stormed the holding station and rescued the man and immediately transported him to obtain medical care

Increasingly, especially over the past week, Kurdish forces as well as Iraqi police have begun a policy of harassment and intimidation of local civilians. Referring to the Arab and KDP police, one local Assyrian noted “they share one thing in common: they don’t live here. They don’t belong here.” Another bitterly complained that “they don’t come to provide security; they come to terrorize Christians and extract profits from the area for their personal gains.”

Assyrian Christians and other minorities from the Nineveh Plain such as Shabak and Yezidis point to recent violence as further evidence of the deliberate suffocation of their area by the KDP and the police force it increasingly controls. Assyrian Christians further believe that local administration and policing by residents of the Nineveh Plain is the only way to reverse an increasingly tense and intolerable security situation. From the KDP perspective, though, total control of security is essential to continued Assyrian Christian subjugation as well as the furthering of the KDP dream to annex the Nineveh Plain into a greater KDP occupied region.

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