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IraqSide:Developments
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Incarcerated Teens Tell of Rape, Hardships
A Rare Glipmse Inside an Iraqi Penal Institution for Underage Girls
By SLOGGER NETWORK 12/19/2008 4:24 PM ET
IraqSlogger sources have obtained rare information on some of the inmates at a prison facility for underage girls in Baghdad. 14 girls from all over the country are serving prison sentences in the facility, all under the age of 17. Below are sketches based on information that five of the young women told social researchers who had obtained access to the facility. The researchers and the inmates provided the information on condition of anonymity.

One girl, from the Tikrit area of Salah al-Din province, said that she is serving a 15-year sentence for the murder of her brother, which she says she did not commit. Her two brothers had an argument that led to violence between them, and one brother killed the other, she said. Her family decided that, because she was underage, she should take the blame for the killing in the Iraqi courts, in order to spare her older brother the harsher sentence that he would likely face since was of legal majority at the time of the killing.

Another girl, whose age and place of origin were not revealed, said that she was also serving a 15-year sentence for murder. She admitted to the charges but explained that she had killed her stepfather as he was attempting to rape her sister.

A third inmate, aged 16, told Slogger that she had been accused by her in-laws of killing her husband and convicted in the Iraqi courts despite her protestations of innocence. Four months ago, she gave birth to a child in prison. Even she was unaware of the identity of the child's father, saying it could have been her deceased husband or one of the prison guards who raped her while she was incarcerated. The researcher told IraqSlogger that sexual abuse of detainees is common at the facility.

Another inmate, aged 14, was picked up in the western Baghdad district of Kadhimiya wearing an explosives belt and has been in the custody of the Iraqi justice system ever since. She told Slogger that she is originally from the al-Zubayr area of Basra governorate, but that her family does not know of her whereabouts and that Iraqi officials have been unable to reach them.

One other inmate who told her story is aged 15, and serving a ten-year sentence for carrying a forged passport. She was detained by Iraqi authorities as she re-entered the country from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where she had traveled to work as a prostitute.

Members of IraqSlogger's network of Iraqi staff contributed to this report but choose to remain anonymous for security reasons.

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