As Iraq struggles to emerge from the sectarian carnage set off by the 2003 US invasion, organised crime, especially the kidnapping of children, appears to have leapt.
An easy target for criminal gangs, 10 year old Muntazer was snatched and later murdered. His mother spoke of her agony. ‘‘He was an innocent child. He did nothing. He was on his way to his grandfather’s when they took him. What did he do? He committed no sin to be tortured in this way, he was innocent,’‘ said Wafa Jassim. The gang extorted some 16,000 euros from the family. Iraqi authorities say they are simply criminals. ‘‘Criminal and outlawed gangs do not have political objectives, their main aim is crime and consequently when the security forces dismantled terrorist and armed groups, they started to commit organised crime,’‘ said Kamel Amin Hashem from Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry. Despite Muntazer’s family paying the ransom, the gang killed him and poured acid on the body to try to hide the evidence.