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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iraq authorities charging police officers after prison abuse investigation
Brian Jackson at 8:19 AM ET

[JURIST] Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani [NYT backgrounder] said Tuesday that more than 40 police officers face charges following an investigation that revealed abuses in the country's prisons and criminal justice system. Among the alleged abuses, police are believed to have arrested individuals without warrants [AP report]. Additional allegations, including torture and bribery, were leveled by Ali al-Miyali, an Iraqi lawmaker associated with Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr [CFR backgrounder]. The Iraqi government is attempting to resolve the controversial issue of police behavior before the national parliamentary elections, scheduled for January 30, 2010 [UPI report].

Earlier this week, it was reported that hundreds of Iraqi prisoners had gone on a hunger strike [PressTV report] to protest being tortured into giving false confessions. In August, officials for Iraq's Human Rights Ministry said that they plan to prosecute those suspected of torturing inmates [JURIST report] of the country's prison system. In November 2005 US troops found 173 prisoners [JURIST report], many abused, in a secret bunker run by the Interior Ministry. Earlier that year, then-UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said that Iraq's detention practices may violate international law and expressed concern [JURIST report] over the failure of Coalition forces to publish the results of their investigation into the torture allegations. In December 2005, then-interior minister Bayan Jabr fired [JURIST report] Nouri al-Nouri, the country's senior inspector handling human rights issues, in connection with a torture scandal involving dozens of prisoners at a Baghdad prison. Jabr himself has been accused of running secret prisons and controlling death squads, charges he has downplayed or denied [JURIST reports].

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