By Theodore Shoebat
Muslims in Iraq, all members of ISIS, entered a prison near Mosul and slaughtered 600 of the inmates, many of whom because they were Shia Muslim. As one report says:
After seizing Badoush Prison near Mosul, the gunmen from Islamic State, also known as ISIS, separated the Sunni from the Shia inmates, then forced the Shia men to kneel along the edge of a nearby ravine and shot them with assault rifles and automatic weapons, 15 Shia prisoners who survived the massacre told Human Rights Watch. The gunmen also killed a number of Kurdish and Yezidi inmates of Badoush Prison, the survivors said.
“The gruesome details of ISIS’ mass murder of prison inmates make it impossible to deny the depravity of this extremist group,” said Letta Tayler, senior terrorism and counterterrorism researcher. “People of every ethnicity and creed should condemn these horrific tactics, and press Iraqi and international authorities to bring those responsible to justice.”
The mass summary executions amount to war crimes and most likely crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said.
ISIS fighters broke into Badoush the day they captured Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which is 10 kilometers southeast of the prison. The gunmen herded up to 1,500 inmates onto trucks and drove them to an isolated stretch of desert about 2 kilometers from the prison, survivors said. The prisoners had been serving sentences for a range of crimes, from murder and assaults to nonviolent offenses.
The fighters separated out several hundred Sunni and a small number of Christian men and drove them away in trucks, the witnesses said. They then robbed and insulted the Shia and other remaining prisoners, marched them to a ravine, and forced them to form one long line along its edge. There, they made the inmates count their number in the line before opening fire. A survivor, A.S., described the death count:
They started by saying, “Each person raise his hand and say his number.” I was number 43. I heard them say “615,” and then one ISIS guy said, “We’re going to eat well tonight.” A man behind us asked, “Are you ready?” Another person answered “Yes,” and began shooting at us with a machine-gun. Then they all started to shoot us from behind, going down the row.
Human Rights Watch is withholding the prisoners’ full names to protect them from possible retaliation.
Nine survivors Human Rights Watch interviewed said that they heard their fellow inmates at the end of the line call out numbers from the low 500s to 750. Five of them heard numbers between 615 and 680, while other survivors said the count went into the “hundreds.”
Most people were shot in the head, the back and the side, said survivor H.K.:
A bullet hit my head and I fell to the ground, and that’s when I felt another bullet hit my arm. I was unconscious for about 5 minutes. One person was shot in the head, in the forehead, it [the bullet] went out the other side, and he fell on top of me.
Before they started shooting, I managed to kiss the men on each side of me, because we knew we were going to die. After we said goodbye to each other, I took my daughter’s picture and kissed it, and I prayed to God to save me for her, because I have no one else [to take care of her].
The gunmen returned for a second round of shooting when they saw one prisoner stand up, and only stopped when they ran out of ammunition, the survivors said.
“They were shouting, ‘This is how we serve justice!’ and, ‘This one’s alive, shoot him again!” witness F.S. said. “I got shot. Then I heard someone say, ‘Let’s leave, we’re out of bullets.’”
Most of those shot fell into the ravine, the survivors said. The gunmen then set fire to brush in and around the ravine, and flames spread to the corpses.
The witnesses estimated that 30 to 40 prisoners survived, most by rolling into the ravine and pretending to be dead, or because they were shielded by the bodies of other prisoners who fell on top of them. Survivors said several men wounded by the shooting later died while trying to crawl or stagger away.
ISIS fighters drove the prisoners claiming to be Sunnis and Christians for about four hours to another desert location, one Sunni man who was among that group told Human Rights Watch. He was unable to identify the location but said some in the group believed it was in Iraq’s Anbar province while others thought it might have been in Syria. The witness said that on the first evening ISIS fighters removed between 50 and 100 men from this group on grounds that they were Shia posing as Sunni. He said they did not return. Three days later ISIS fighters drove the others back to Mosul and set them free, he said.
Human Rights Watch interviewed the 15 Shia survivors and four other former Badoush Prison inmates in semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, where they had surrendered or been picked up by local authorities after fleeing ISIS-controlled areas. The interviews took place in two prisons where the Iraqi Kurdish authorities were holding the men. Nearly all the Shia prisoners showed scars from bullet wounds or burns that they said they had sustained during the massacre.