The United Nations on Tuesday decried numerous executions of civilians in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, warning that educated women appeared to be especially at risk.
The jihadist group is showing a "monstrous disregard for human life" in the areas it controls in Iraq, the UN human rights office said. The group, which controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and in neighboring war-ravaged Syria, last week published pictures of the "crucifixions" of two men accused of being bandits, and of a woman being stoned to death, allegedly for adultery.
Numerous other women have also reportedly been executed recently in ISIS-controlled areas, including Mosul, UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters. She said "educated, professional women, particularly women who have run as candidates in elections for public office, seem to be particularly at risk."
"In just the first two weeks of this year, reports indicate that three female lawyers were executed," Shamdasani said. Dr. Ansam al-Hamadani, a surgeon from a central Mosul hospital told Al-Akhbar last year that “militants banned all female doctors and female staff who do not wear a veil over their faces and wear gloves to cover their hands from entering the hospital.”
Asked how a doctor can do her job and examine patients with her face and hands covered, Hamadani said “these are the rules of the [ISIS] state.” Recently, four doctors were killed in Mosul, after allegedly refusing to treat ISIS fighters. With increasing air raids by the Iraqi army and a US-led international coalition, more doctors are fleeing the city and leaving their jobs.
Health officials in Mosul are expecting darker days with more wounded flooding hospitals amid a sharp shortage of resources and medical staff. Last month, ISIS executed at least 150 women who refused to marry its militants in the western Iraqi province of al-Anbar, Iraq's Ministry of Human Rights said.
"At least 150 females, including pregnant women, were executed in Fallujah by a militant named Abu Anas al-Libi after they refused to accept jihad marriage," the statement said. "Many families were also forced to migrate from the province’s northern town of al-Wafa after hundreds of residents received death threats."
A number of other groups are also targeted by the jihadists, Shamdasani said, pointing to "the ruthless murder of two men, who were thrown off the top of a building after having been accused of homosexual acts by a so-called court in Mosul."
Minorities are not the only ones suffering, with ISIS meting out "cruel and inhuman punishments" to anyone accused of violating its "extremist interpretations of Islamic Sharia law, or for suspected disloyalty," she said.
The group reportedly executed 15 civilians in front of a large crowd in Fallujah on January 1, on suspicion they had cooperated with Iraqi security forces, and 14 more in a public square in Dour, north of Tikrit, for refusing to pledge allegiance to ISIS, Shamdasani said.