Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mass grave found in western Iraq

NPR: "In western Iraq, authorities have discovered a mass grave they say holds the remains of more than 800 people who are thought to have been killed during the rule of Saddam Hussein.

It's believed the country has hundreds of mass graves from the Saddam era — and countless new graves from more recent conflicts. But not all sites get the same treatment.

Into The Grave

Down in the recently discovered grave, a set of remains lies along with the person's belongings. All that's left of the person is a skeleton — hip bone, joints, vertebrae. There's a skull with a bullet hole.

Local human rights chief Khudeir Hamdan says teams will take these skulls and test their DNA, then try to match them with DNA from families who have reported their loved ones missing.

Some of the remains were dressed in military uniforms, and some were in civilian clothes, he says. Some were women; some were children.

Hamdan says the victims are thought to be Kurds or Shiites — the main groups that rose up against Saddam. And the same groups that are in power today."

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