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HRW Says Iraqi Criminal Court Trials Unfair


A leading human rights group says Iraq's main criminal court is "seriously failing" to meet international judicial standards.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports Monday that the Central Criminal Court of Iraq is denying defendants adequate due process and fair trials.

The report The Quality of Justice: Failings of Iraq's Central Criminal Court describes how defendants often endure long periods of pretrial detention and abuse, and are not able to pursue a meaningful defense.

HRW officials monitored court proceedings and met with judges, defense attorneys, defendants and others for the report.

The U.S-based group urges the Iraqi government to re-examine the court's proceedings. It also recommends that the United States and multinational forces not physically transfer detainees to Iraqi custody because they may suffer torture or other mistreatment.

Earlier this month, the United Nations Mission in Iraq expressed "serious concern" about the treatment of detainees in Iraqi prisons. It said that as Iraq takes on more sovereignty from the United States, it must also take on more responsibility for preventing rights abuses.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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