Call it “Terrorist Shaming.” One of the most popular TV shows in Iraq brings convicted terrorists, shackled and in their prison jumpsuits, to be confronted by their victims while the cameras roll.
“In The Grip Of The Law” is one of several programs Iraq’s state-controlled media uses to get its people to have confidence in their police and security forces, The Associated Press (AP) reports, along with cartoons, public service announcements, other TV shows. The nation’s beleaguered security forces have suffered humiliating defeat at the hands of ISIS, which now controls about a third of the country, and the Iraqi government wants the people to support their troops.
Car bombs and suicide attacks are an almost-daily occurrence in Iraq, both before the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011 and since, according to Yahoo News. But as host Ahmed Hassan explains it, the Iraqi TV show sends a message that terrorists will be brought to justice.
“We wanted to produce a program that offers clear and conclusive evidence, with the complete story, presented and shown to Iraqi audiences. Through surveillance videos, we show how the accused parked the car, how he blew it up, how he carries out an assassination.”
Haider Ali Motar was one such terrorist. The 21-year-old, who was convicted of helping ISIS carry out a string of car bombings in Baghdad, was brought to the scene of the crime, along with a camera crew and a heavy security escort. As a technician pinned a microphone to his jumpsuit, a relative of one his victims stood behind a barbed-wire barrier.
“Give him to me — I’ll tear him to pieces.”
Also on hand was another victim; a young man in a wheelchair, whose father was killed in one of Motar’s attacks. As the young man confronted the terrorist for the Iraqi TV cameras, the terrorist started crying.
You can watch a video clip of “In The Grip Of Justice” below, but be warned: some of the footage is disturbing.
Donatella Rovera of Amnesty International says via AP that a TV show airing “confessions” by Iraqi prisoners is hardly justice.
“The justice system is so flawed and the rights of detainees, especially those accused of terrorism (but not only) are so routinely violated that it is virtually impossible to be confident that they would be able to speak freely. In recent months, which I have spent in Iraq, virtually every family I have met who has a relative detained has complained that they do not have access to them, and the same is true for lawyers.”
But the Iraqi state-controlled media doesn’t see it that way. An unnamed intelligence officer told AP that “In The Grip Of Justice,” and TV shows like it in Iraq, send a message to those who would support terrorism.
“Many of these terrorists feel a lot of remorse when they see the victims. When people see that, it makes them think twice about crossing the law.”
Do you believe that bringing terrorists to be confronted by their victims makes for good TV? Sound off in the Comments below.
[Image courtesy of: Associated Press]