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Amnesty Decries Prisoner Treatment in Iraq


The London-based human rights group Amnesty International says Iraqi security forces are torturing prisoners, while multinational forces ignore legal due process of detainees.

The Amnesty International report released Monday says thousands of prisoners in Iraq are denied basic legal rights, under a system of arbitrary detention.

An international law expert at Amnesty International, Claudio Cordone, says the abuses only complicate matters for Iraqi authorities and the U.S.-led multinational force.

"We need to change the system of detention whereby people are being held without charge or trial. They are not being given an opportunity to challenge the reasons for their detention. They do not appear before a review board that looks at their cases. All this is done on paper," said Cordone. "This is not just wrong in principle, and in fact unlawful, put obviously fuels resentment and is counterproductive."

The Amnesty report says that, as of last November, the international coalition in Iraq said it held 14,000 prisoners. Amnesty says some have been classified as "security internees" and have been held for more than two years without charge.

Amnesty also says Iraqi security forces have sometimes tortured prisoners, with tactics such as beatings and electric shocks. In some instances, the report says, detainees have died while in Iraqi custody.

The American military in Iraq says prisoners are given written explanations for their detention and files are reviewed every three or four months. The British military says the International Committee of the Red Cross is informed within 24 hours after an Iraqi is detained.