Amnesty Int'l: 14,000 Detained in Iraq

Amnesty International issued a new report today, Beyond Abu Ghraib: detention and torture in Iraq.

US and UK forces in Iraq have detained thousands of people without charge or trial for long periods and there is growing evidence of Iraqi security forces torturing detainees, Amnesty International said today.

From the report's introduction:

The MNF has established procedures which deprive detainees of human rights guaranteed in international human rights law and standards. In particular, the MNF denies detainees their right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention before a court. Some of the detainees have been held for over two years without any effective remedy or recourse; others have been released without explanation or apology or reparation after months in detention, victims of a system that is arbitrary and a recipe for abuse.

Many cases of torture and ill-treatment of detainees held in facilities controlled by the Iraqi authorities have been reported since the handover of power in June 2004. Among other methods, victims have been subjected to electric shocks or have been beaten with plastic cables. The picture that is emerging is one in which the Iraqi authorities are systematically violating the rights of detainees in breach of guarantees contained both in Iraqi legislation and in international law and standards - including the right not to be tortured and to be promptly brought before a judge.

As to what was found when U.S. military forces raided two Iraqi-run detention centers:

According to media reports, in both cases detainees alleged that they had been subjected to electric shocks and had their nails pulled out. (6) An Iraqi Human Rights Ministry official subsequently told Amnesty International that the Iraqi authorities had conducted medical examinations but that these had not confirmed the allegations. However, the official stated that several detainees had injuries caused by beating with plastic cables. Further, the official confirmed that abuses committed at other detention facilities under the control of Iraqi authorities over the past year included incidents of detainees having been subjected to electric shocks. (7)

There's also criticism for the Multi-National Forces (MNF):

MNF officials have generally sought to distance the US-led alliance from any involvement when there has been publicity regarding torture and other abuses by Iraqi government forces. However, the increasing availability of such information since at least the beginning of 2005, as well as the continuing close day to day collaboration between MNF forces and those of the Iraqi government, suggests that MNF commanders and the governments to which they are responsible have been well aware for a considerable time that the Iraqi forces they support are responsible for gross abuses of human rights.

Yet, as part of their cooperation with Iraqi government forces, the MNF continued to hand over some of those whom its forces detained into the custody of Iraqi forces, despite the obvious risks to which this must expose such prisoners. In this respect, the MNF would appear to have been either seriously negligent or, effectively, complicit in the abuses committed by Iraqi government forces and supine in their failure to make clear to the Iraqi government and its forces that torture and other violations against prisoners must not be tolerated, and that those who commit such abuse must be brought promptly to justice.(16)

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    Re: Amnesty Int'l: 14,000 Detained in Iraq (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 06, 2006 at 09:42:15 AM EST
    On the other hand John "Death Squad" Negroponte recent Iraq Ambassador and now head of HS intelligence:
    On many a workday lunchtime, the nominal boss of U.S. intelligence, John D. Negroponte, can be found at a private club in downtown Washington, getting a massage, taking a swim, and having lunch, followed by a good cigar and a perusal of the daily papers in the club's library. "He spends three hours there [every] Monday through Friday," gripes a senior counterterrorism official, noting that the former ambassador has a security detail sitting outside all that time in chase cars.
    Fightin terrror is hard work. Besides we are getting the bad guys to kill each other off, why shouldn't I be lapping up the gravy?

    Re: Amnesty Int'l: 14,000 Detained in Iraq (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 06, 2006 at 10:21:48 AM EST
    Here is the link to the . Negroponte story via Paul Kiel at TPM