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Amnesty warns Iraqi Shiite militias targeting Sunnis in retaliation for Islamic State attacks

  • FILE - In this  Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014, file photo, a Shiite militiaman stands guard in Amirli, where 15,000 Shiite Turkmens were stranded in the farming community surrounded by militants since mid-July, 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq's Shiite militias have abducted and killed "scores" of Sunni civilians in retaliation for the onslaught by the Sunni militant Islamic State group, Amnesty International said Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, claiming that the attacks are supported by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. The Shiite militiamen number in the tens of thousands and wear military uniforms but operate outside any legal framework and without any official oversight, Amnesty said. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014, file photo, a Shiite militiaman stands guard in Amirli, where 15,000 Shiite Turkmens were stranded in the farming community surrounded by militants since mid-July, 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq's Shiite militias have abducted and killed "scores" of Sunni civilians in retaliation for the onslaught by the Sunni militant Islamic State group, Amnesty International said Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, claiming that the attacks are supported by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. The Shiite militiamen number in the tens of thousands and wear military uniforms but operate outside any legal framework and without any official oversight, Amnesty said. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Saturday, June 14, 2014 file photo Iraqi Shiite fighters deploy with their weapons in Basra, Iraq. Iraq's Shiite militias have abducted and killed "scores" of Sunni civilians in retaliation for the onslaught by the Sunni militant Islamic State group, Amnesty International said Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, claiming that the attacks are supported by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Amnesty says the government is not doing its job to prosecute Shiite militia crimes but is also condoning them. (AP Photo/ Nabil Al-Jurani, File)

    FILE - In this Saturday, June 14, 2014 file photo Iraqi Shiite fighters deploy with their weapons in Basra, Iraq. Iraq's Shiite militias have abducted and killed "scores" of Sunni civilians in retaliation for the onslaught by the Sunni militant Islamic State group, Amnesty International said Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, claiming that the attacks are supported by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Amnesty says the government is not doing its job to prosecute Shiite militia crimes but is also condoning them. (AP Photo/ Nabil Al-Jurani, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, file photo, Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen fire at Islamic State group positions during an operation outside Amirli, some 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq’s Shiite militias have abducted and killed “scores” of Sunni civilians in retaliation for the onslaught by the Sunni militant Islamic State group, Amnesty International said Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, claiming that the attacks are supported by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. After Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, fell to the militants in June, then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called upon volunteers to reinforce the humiliated military, and many Shiite militias quickly reported for duty. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, file photo, Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen fire at Islamic State group positions during an operation outside Amirli, some 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq’s Shiite militias have abducted and killed “scores” of Sunni civilians in retaliation for the onslaught by the Sunni militant Islamic State group, Amnesty International said Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, claiming that the attacks are supported by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. After Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, fell to the militants in June, then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called upon volunteers to reinforce the humiliated military, and many Shiite militias quickly reported for duty. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

Amnesty International says Iraq's Shiite militias have abducted and killed "scores" of Sunni civilians in retaliation for the onslaught of the Sunni militant Islamic State group.

The rights watchdog says these attacks are supported by Iraq's government, and that the Shiites are not prosecuted for their crimes.

Amnesty's senior adviser Donatella Rovera is accusing the Shiite-led government in Baghdad of "sanctioning war crimes and fueling a dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that is tearing the country apart."

Amnesty says the fate of many of the Sunni abductees remains unknown and that some captives have been killed even after their families paid ransoms of $80,000 and more.

The accusations, based on interviews with families and survivors, came in a new Amnesty report released Tuesday, entitled "Absolute Impunity: Militia Rule in Iraq."