After the invasion of Iraq, the US government claimed that women there had 'new rights and new hopes'. In fact their lives have become immeasurably worse, with rapes, burnings and murders now a daily occurrence. By Mark Lattimer
They lie in the Sulaimaniyah hospital morgue in Iraqi Kurdistan, set out on white-tiled slabs. A few have been shot or strangled, some beaten to death, but most have been burned. One girl, a lock of hair falling across her half-closed eyes, could almost be on the point of falling asleep. Burns have stretched the skin on another young woman's face into a fixed look of surprise.
These women are not casualties of battle. In fact, the cause of death is generally recorded as "accidental", although their bodies often lie unclaimed by their families.