Bush administration plays down new case of prisoner abuse in Iraq




 
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Bush administration plays down new case of prisoner abuse in Iraq
 
December 13th, 2005  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Bush administration plays down new case of prisoner abuse in Iraq


Bush administration plays down new case of prisoner abuse in Iraq
By BARRY SCHWEID - AP Diplomatic Writer
WASHINGTON - (AP) The State Department is playing down
discovery of another detention center in Iraq containing hundreds of
prisoners in cramped quarters and the apparent abuse of some of them.
Department officials called for Iraqi officials to investigate the
second known mistreatment of detainees in a center maintained by the
Interior Ministry. But James Jeffrey, a seasoned American diplomat who
assists Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Iraq policy, said Monday he
did not think it would discourage Sunni Arabs from voting in legislative
elections on Thursday.
"We are looking into this one in more detail to find out what went
on there, why these people were being detained there, why they were not
turned over to the ministry of Justice and whether and to what degree they
may have been mishandled," Jeffrey said at the Foreign Press Center.
"It's still early in this case," he said, but added, "In this second
camp there are some questions."
Discovery of the first detention center last month led to strong
condemnation by the U.S. and to the assignment of Justice Department
officials to help in a wider investigation.
Responding to reports of a second center, State Department spokesman
Adam Ereli said abuse was contrary to Iraqi policy and that all facilities
maintained by the government would be investigated with the help of the U.S.
Justice Department and the FBI.
"Clearly, there is a problem in Iraq and clearly the Iraqis
understand that and are working to address it," he said. "It's a process
that will not be resolved overnight."
Ereli said he would not "prejudge" what the Iraqi investigation
might turn up.
Sunni leaders disclosed the detention centers, where many of the
prisoners were Sunnis. The Iraqi government is dominated by sometimes rival
Shiites.
The Bush administration is hoping for a strong turnout by all groups
in Iraq to vote on Thursday as evidence that democratic procedures are
taking hold in Iraq under U.S. tutelage.