[Mb-civic] CBC News - STARVED,
TORTURED PRISONERS FOUND IN IRAQI CELL
CBC News Online
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Tue Nov 15 19:20:50 PST 2005
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The following is a news item posted on CBC NEWS ONLINE
STARVED, TORTURED PRISONERS FOUND IN IRAQI CELL
WebPosted Tue Nov 15 13:14:18 2005
---Iraq is investigating the discovery of more than 170 prisoners in
a government bunker in Baghdad where many were found starved, beaten
Iraqi officials made the announcement Tuesday, two days after U.S. troops
surrounded the Interior Ministry compound where the detainees were being
held in an underground cell.
Neither the U.S. military nor the Iraqi government would comment on
whether the American forces found the cell.
"I was informed that there were 173 detainees held at an Interior
Ministry prison and they appear to be malnourished," Prime Minister
Ibrahim al-Jaafari told reporters on Tuesday.
"There is also some talk that they were subjected to some kind of
The prime minister said all the detainees had been moved to a different
detention centre and were receiving medical care.
The U.S. military isn't saying anything about the case, referring all
questions to the Interior Ministry.
Al-Jaafari said he ordered a high-level investigation into allegations
that ministry officials tortured and abused the prisoners, who were
suspected of being insurgents.
'Some had their skin peeled off'
The deputy interior minister was more explicit, saying he was stunned by
the prisoners' treatment.
"I've never seen such a situation like this during the past two years in
Baghdad; this is the worst," Hussein Kamal told CNN.
"I saw signs of physical abuse by brutal beating, one or two detainees
were paralysed and some had their skin peeled off various parts of
Kamal told Reuters news agency that the treatment was "totally
"It is denounced by the minister and everyone in Iraq."
Government repeatedly told about abuse, critics
A leading Sunni politician and Amnesty International questioned the Shia-
led government's claims that it was unaware of the alleged abuse.
The head of the country's biggest Sunni political party, Mohsen Abdul-
Hamid, told the Associated Press that people had repeatedly complained
about abuse and torture at ministry detention centres, including the one
in the scandal.
Mohsen Abdul-Hamid, head of the Iraqi Islamic party, said he had spoken
to al-Jaafari and other government officials about the allegations.
He said he was brushed off and told the prisoners – all Sunni
Muslims – were part of the regime of former Iraqi president
Most insurgents in the country are Sunni Muslims, who were dominant under
Hussein even though they form the minority in Iraq.
Amnesty International said there have been many reports that Iraqi
detainees were being abused and tortured by police and Interior Ministry
An Amnesty spokeswoman urged al-Jaafari to expand his investigation to
include all allegations of abuse at detention centres.
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