A group of special forces within the Iraqi military reportedly tortured and killed civilians in videos obtained by an Iraqi photojournalist, ABC News reported on Thursday.
Photojournalist Ali Arkady smuggled the videos out of Iraq after a trusting group of special forces allowed him to record the alleged war crimes. At least six troubling incidents occurred in the video footage, which one military official said uncovered a homicide.
“That’s a murder,” said Lt. Col. Scott Mann, a retired Green Beret, as reported by ABC News.
Arkady set out to cover the Emergency Response Division (E.R.D.) of Iraq’s government from a positive angle but soon learned they were engaging in unsavory activity.
Iraqi soldiers reportedly used the torture to cover their tracks rather than for intelligence-gathering purposes. ABC News observed:
The incidents of torture captured by Arkady’s lens appeared to have no military objective, showing the E.R.D. officers rarely collected actionable intelligence on ISIS fighters, leadership or operations. Instead, Arkady says, the unit often tortured civilians to provoke false confessions as justification for raids, arrests and what they called “field executions.”
Middle East Director for Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leigh Whitson said the videos were “sadistic” and described the conduct as “torture for fun.”
After spending months with the soldiers, Arkady claimed the alleged war crimes happened “all the time.”
“There should be punishment for anyone doing it. It’s reprehensible and it shouldn’t be allowed on any modern battlefield,” Mann said.
You can watch the video above from ABC News.