Amnesty International calls for disclosure of fates of hundreds of men and boys arbitrarily arrested Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq in 2016

LONDON — On Thursday, Amnesty International published a report calling for disclosure of the fates of 643 Sunni men and youth who were kidnapped five years ago by Shia paramilitary groups associated with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).

Amnesty indicated that the listed individuals went missing during a PMF operation to retake Fallujah, in the west of the country, from the Islamic State (ISIS) in June 2016.

It was reported that on 3 June 2016, while thousands of displaced people were fleeing, witness reported armed men dressed in PMF uniforms took about 1,300 men and boys, considered to be old enough to fight, from their families.

The report added that on the same night, at least 643 of them were put on buses and a large truck and have not been heard from since. It was also reported that the rest of the men and boys were tortured and ill-treated.

At the time, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formed a commission of inquiry into ISIS violations and reprisals against Sunnis were exacerbating sectarian tension in the country. The results of that investigation, however, were never published.

Amnesty stated that the families of the 643 men have been waiting for 5 years to find out if their loved ones are alive. These families deserve their pain to be ended.

The PMF officially denies that it kidnapped or arbitrarily arrested people. Its leaders, however, confirm that they imprisoned individuals, or what they called jihadists, without proof of wrongdoing or membership in ISIS.