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Rights Group: US Security Deal Puts Iraqi Detainees at Risk

The human rights group, Amnesty International, has warned that thousands of Iraqis now detained by U.S. forces face torture or execution if handed over to Iraqi authorities.

The group issued the statement on Thursday, after Iraq's parliament approved a security deal with the United States that extends the U.S. troop presence in the country until 2011.

Amnesty said the deal provides no safeguards for transferred prisoners, a situation one Amnesty official said moves them "from the frying pan to the fire."

Amnesty also expressed concern about more than 2,000 Iranians linked to the Iranian opposition group, People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, who remain in northern Iraq under U.S. protection. The rights group says the Iranians would be at risk of serious human rights violations if forcibly returned to Iran.

Separately, a council of European Union interior ministers says EU nations should help re-settle nearly 10,000 refugees from Iraq, many of them currently living in precarious conditions in Syria and Jordan.

During a meeting on Thursday, the ministers invited EU member nations to take in the most vulnerable refugees, including those with medical needs, trauma or torture victims, members of religious minorities, and women on their own with family responsibilities.

Germany agreed to take in about 2,500 Iraqi refugees.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.