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Footage of Alleged Murder of Hospital Employee by Iraqi Forces Emerges - Reports

© AP Photo / Susannah GeorgeHundreds of civilians flee villages outside Mosul the day after Iraqi Kurdish forces launch an operation east of Islamic State-held Mosul
Hundreds of civilians flee villages outside Mosul the day after Iraqi Kurdish forces launch an operation east of Islamic State-held Mosul - Sputnik International
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Freelance photographer Ali Arkady shared a video in which he said a member of an elite Iraqi counteterror unit was depicted killing an unarmed hospital employee whom the officers suspected of leading them into a trap, the RT broadcaster reported on Thursday.

Iraqi rapid response members fire a missile against DAESH militants during a battle with the militants in Mosul, Iraq, March 11, 2017. - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Arkady told RT that the video was recorded by the officers of the Iraqi Emergency Response Division (ERD) who told him that they captured the man in a hospital where he worked, told him to show them where the Islamic State terror group (IS, banned in Russia) was based and then, having been warned of Daesh snipers by a passer-by, shot the man because they believed he was trying to lead them into a trap.

According to the photographer, he began by chronicling the unit's fight against Daesh, but had slowly come to realize that the Iraqi officers were using brutal interrogation tactics.

"We worked together every day… I spent more time with them than with my family. I thought they were heroes. They were so brave, fighting on the front lines daily… But then I saw their other side… the torture, the raping, the killing… First they didn't want me to film the torture, and other bad stuff. But eventually, they relented and gave me permission," Arkady told RT.

Other materials revealed by the photographer reportedly showed two brothers who escaped Daesh-held city of Mosul tortured by the ERD. The photographer told RT that the siblings were later killed.

Iraqi soldiers help residents displaced by fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul's al-Zanjili's district, Iraq June 7, 2017. - Sputnik International
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"At first, it didn't register. During the second week, I went home and my relatives asked me what the hell was wrong with me. After that it all changed… It got worse and worse, and after 5 weeks it became so horrible that I decided to publish everything," the photographer told RT.

Arkady told RT that his family had received threats from ERD officers since he began publishing the materials.

"Two months ago my family has received direct threats from these forces, namely from Omar Nizar on Facebook. He threatened them, saying they will come after us at night," the freelance journalist told RT, adding that he did not personally receive the threats.

Arkady said that he continued to work because he wanted to "collect materials and document everything [he] saw and then to include it in the documentary that [he] will put together in the future."

The broadcaster received a statement from the US military on the absence of connection to the unit, saying that "the US does not currently train or equip the Iraqi Emergency Response Division." According to the Pentagon, the ERD was blacklisted in 2015 under the Leahy Law, which forbids Washington from giving military assistance to forces known to have committed human rights violations.

Hundreds of civilians flee villages outside Mosul the day after Iraqi Kurdish forces launch an operation east of Islamic State-held Mosul - Sputnik International
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According to RT, the Pentagon also noted in a statement that "Leahy vetting does not prevent the US from working with the ERD."

RT has alerted several human rights organizations, but, according to the broadcaster, not many of them have answered. Human Rights Watch (HRW) repeated their earlier statement, saying that the United States is "dangerously close to complicity," the broadcaster said. According to media reports, the HRW is planning to interview families of the victims.

The Gulf Center for Human Rights told RT in a statement that the authorities should urgently establish an independent, thorough and unbiased investigation into the past violations and to publishing the results bringing those responsible to justice in line with international law.

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