AI Report: Iraq unlawfully detaining and torturing thousands

(JURIST) According to a report by Amnesty International (AI), the Iraqi government is unlawfully detaining and torturing more than 30,000 detainees. The report, “New Order, Same Abuses: Unlawful Detention in Iraq“, accuses Iraq of torturing detainees during interrogations in order to obtain confessions, which are then used as evidence against them. Furthermore, an increasing number of uncharged detainees are being held despite judicial orders for their release.

The report proposes a number of guidelines to be followed by the Iraqi prison authorities  in order to help protect detainees, including immediately halting the ill treatment of prisoners and ensuring the detainees are given full due process rights and access to legal representation.

AI urged the US and Iraqi authorities to respect international human rights law for the protection of prison detainees by immediately releasing any uncharged detainees. AI also recalled that the practice of arbitrary detention violates both Iraqi legislation (the 2008 Iraqi amnesty law prescribes that uncharged detainees are to be released after a period of six to 12 months in detention) and international human rights law.

Iraqi Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim and a US military spokesman both refuted the AI investigation, saying that all detainees are being held on judicial warrant and that the report is “baseless” and the claims of detainee mistreatment are “not true.”

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