A message purportedly left at the house by the troops, which urged the brothers to surrender, contained a mobile telephone number. This was answered by an American soldier who appeared to be aware of Batawi's accusation but declined further comment.
Apr 5, 2005 By Waleed Ibrahim, Reuters
An Iraqi apparently suspected by U.S. troops of taking part in attacks in Baghdad accused U.S. forces on Tuesday of taking his mother and sister hostage to pressure him and his brothers into surrendering for questioning.
A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said he doubted the accusation and was not aware of such an incident. But neighbors interviewed around Arkan Mukhlif al-Batawi's villa in the capital's Sunni Arab suburb of Taji corroborated his account.
If true, the troops would have offended local sensibilities about the treatment of women; Amnesty International said they could also have broken international law by taking hostages. [Fuck international law. The commander of this action is a criminal by U.S. Army law.]
Batawi, who spoke to Reuters at the offices of a leading group of Sunni clerics, said U.S. soldiers searched his home on Saturday.
When they found neither him nor two brothers also on the wanted list, they arrested his mother and sister, he said.
A message purportedly left at the house by the troops, which urged the brothers to surrender, contained a mobile telephone number. This was answered by an American soldier who appeared to be aware of Batawi's accusation but declined further comment. [And that is an open and shut case.]
"Last Saturday morning, about 20 Humvees (military vehicles) surrounded our house and neighboring houses and when they failed to find us they took our mother and sister," said Batawi, who spent more than a year in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib jail after the U.S. invasion but denies any link to Iraq's insurgency.
He said he was not sure why the troops wanted to arrest him and his brothers, Muhammad and Saddam, again. But he believed they suspected them of involvement in insurgent attacks. All three were released in August from Abu Ghraib, which became notorious last year for abuses of prisoners by U.S. troops.
A handwritten sign in Arabic on the front gate of their house read: "Be a man Muhammad Mukhlif and give yourself up and then we will release your sisters.
"Otherwise they will spend a long time in detention."