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Report: Secret prison in Iraq raises fresh concerns over torture

Human Rights Watch issued a report Tuesday that says Iraqi forces linked to Prime Minister Maliki are running a secret prison for terror suspects.

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Security forces under the control of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are operating a secret prison filled with detainees who were transferred from a facility where widespread torture was uncovered last year, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The international rights group says it obtained classified documents that describe a secret site within a military camp called Camp Justice, in Baghdad's Kathamiya neighborhood. It's run by the Iraqi Army's 56th Brigade and the counterterrorism service. Both outfits are under the authority of the prime minister.

The report raises fresh concerns about the torture of Iraqi detainees held at Camp Justice and portrays a concerted effort among Iraqi officials to hide abuse at other detention facilities.

"With these specific brigades ... there seems to be a pattern of continuing torture and I think that part of it is that the government hasn't taken steps to address the problem – it hasn't acknowledged the problem," says Samer Muscati, an HRW researcher. He says officials from the prime minister's office have not responded to repeated requests for information or meetings to discuss the issue.

In a report released Tuesday, HRW says that just days before an international inspection team was due to visit a site inside the green zone last November, Iraqi authorities transferred 280 detainees, almost all of them terrorism suspects, to Camp Justice. HRW also found documents from two weeks ago that show a 56th brigade officer prevented prison inspectors from visiting detainees at Camp Justice. Government spokesmen could not be reached for comment on the report.

The report says that about 80 of the 280 detainees at Camp Honor have had no access to lawyers or relatives and prison inspectors are not permitted to conduct visits to the facility controlled by the 56th brigade.


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