Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Iraq Prison Abuse Worse then Thought
By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, December 13, 2005; 11:24 AM
BAGHDAD, Dec. 12 -- Iraqi and U.S. officials found more than 120 victims of abuse in inspections of two Interior Ministry detention centers, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Tuesday. He said the number of torture victims was far greater than authorities earlier disclosed.
Khalilzad also rejected suggestions from the Interior Ministry that the abuse found at the second prison in an inspection last week was relatively mild. The abuse was "far worse than slapping around," Khalilzad said.
GOI: The good news is that the Iraqi government is saying and doing all the right things:
At a news conference on Monday, [Prime Minister] Jafari called the evidence of torture an "unhealthy phenomenon."
"There is a committee following the case. My military adviser is touring all of Iraq's jails to know if there are such cases," Jafari said. "I will not allow such dealing with any prisoner."
The latest cases of abuse appeared more severe than those of beaten, emaciated prisoners found in the basement of another Baghdad Interior Ministry facility last month.
The prison inspected on Thursday was the first in what U.S. and Iraqi officials promised would be a national investigation of Iraq's detention centers. The inspections were announced after the first case was uncovered last month. U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said the unannounced inspections would continue.
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