US ambassador denounces prisoner abuse, says at least 120 abuse cases found

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
BAGHDAD, Iraq - (AP) At least 120 prisoners have been found
suffering from abuse in two detention facilities run by the Shiite-led
Interior Ministry, the U.S. ambassador said Tuesday. Iraqi officials have
said allegations of mistreatment have been exaggerated.
Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters that "over 100" of the
173 prisoners found last month in an Interior Ministry building in Baghdad's
Jadriyah district had suffered abuse.
Last Thursday, U.S. and Iraqi authorities visited another ministry
lockup and found between 21 and 26 other prisoners who had been abused,
Khalilzad said.
The Iraqi Human Rights Ministry said this week that 13 prisoners
found at the second facility needed medical treatment.
Sunni Arabs have long complained about abuse and torture by security
forces of the Shiite-led Interior Ministry. The allegations have become a
major issue for Sunni Arabs in the Thursday national parliamentary
U.S. officials have been encouraging Sunnis to vote, and some Shiite
politicians have suggested that American attention to the torture charges
has been aimed primarily at getting out a big Sunni vote.
"I want to let the Iraqi people know that we are very committed to
looking at all of the facilities," Khalilzad told reporters. "This is
unacceptable for this kind of abuse to take place. "
He said U.S. military officers would be joining Ministry of Interior
forces on counterinsurgency raids "so that they can observe ... how raids
are carried out, how people are taken into custody."
Following the discovery of the prisoners at Jadriyah, Prime Minister
Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite, ordered an investigation and said a full
report would be completed within two weeks. No report has yet been released,
and Sunni politicians have accused the government of delaying it until after
the election.
Interior Minister Bayan Jabr has said torture allegations have been
exaggerated by people who sympathize with the Sunni-led insurgency.