Iraqi Detainees Languishing, More Legal Help Needed

The LA Times has an excellent report on the thousands of Iraqis detainees languishing in Iraqi prisons.

A new U.S.-funded legal clinic in Baghdad attempts to review the cases of those who have been held without charge or trial, but the task is daunting and hurdles numerous.

Many of the detainees are Sunnis. [More...]

In its bid to get the men fair trials or release, the clinic faces immense obstacles, not the least of which is a case file system that consists of paperwork tied together with bits of string. But even more worrying are the sectarian overtones: Most of the detainees are Sunni Arabs accused of terrorism-related offenses, and many claim to be targets of the Shiite Muslim-dominated security forces who they say used trumped-up charges to achieve sectarian "cleansing."

As the Bush administration touts security gains, the issue of the detainees raises questions about the Iraqi government's commitment to human rights, and undermines Sunni trust in the Shiite-led government -- a disenchantment that could even send some Iraqis into the arms of the waning insurgency.

What happens when the U.S. turns control over to the Shiite run Government?

A concern for the Iraqi lawyers working at the clinic is whether the Shiite-led government will foot the bill when U.S. funding runs dry.

The massive detention is also likely to increase hatred of the United States:

"Unsurprisingly, someone who's been deprived of their liberties for months and years without even a hint of due process . . . of course they're going to be angry," said Joseph Logan of Human Rights Watch, who recently spent time in the country researching the Iraqi justice system. "As the Americans found in 2003, the enemies you create are going to be there down the road. I think there is definitely political impact down the road from this."

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    by squeaky on Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 10:54:00 AM EST
    A federal appeals court on Monday ordered the Bush administration to hand over photos depicting abuse of prisoners held by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, handing the American Civil Liberties Union a victory in an ongoing public records lawsuit filed against the Pentagon.

    "This is a resounding victory for the public's right to hold the government accountable," ACLU staff attorney Amrit Singh, who argued before the court, said in a news release. "These photographs demonstrate that the abuse of prisoners held in U.S. custody abroad was not aberrational and not confined to Abu Ghraib, but the result of policies adopted by high-ranking officials. Their release is critical for bringing an end to the administration's torture policies and for deterring further prisoner abuse."

    Raw Story

    Time to make another donation to ACLU..