Claims of detainee abuse in Iraq

2010-09-17 20:28

Mosul - Arrest warrants were issued on Friday for 100 Iraqi security officials, in both the police and army, accused of torturing detainees in prisons in the northern Iraqi city Mosul.

Senior local official Deldar el-Zibari  said the officers were being accused of coercing detainees to confessions through "severe beatings".

"There are official documents and evidence confirming the occurrence of torture," he said. The arrest warrants were issued by Mosul's supreme judicial council, the local body responsible for judicial affairs in the city, some 400km north of Baghdad.

Al-Zibari blamed the Iraqi Ministry of Defence in Baghdad for not holding the accused security officials accountable for their actions and thereby delaying their arrests.

The warrants were issued just four days after the London-based human rights group Amnesty International released a report accusing the Iraqi authorities of holding some 30 000 detainees without trial, denying them access to lawyers and leaving them at risk of torture.

Amnesty International also charged that some prisoners had died from maltreatment while in Iraqi custody in prisons throughout the country.

Echoing that report, al-Zibari said that ensuring the detainees' access to lawyers remained a major problem and obstacle, especially as most detainees in Mosul's prisons were facing terrorism-related charges.