Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Freedom = Detained Without Trial

From the Guardian via Common Dreams:


US and UK forces in Iraq have detained thousands of people without charge or trial for long periods and there is growing evidence of Iraqi security forces torturing detainees, Amnesty International said today.

In a new report published today, the human rights group criticised the US-led multinational force for interning some 14,000 people.

Around 3,800 people have been held for over a year, while another 200 have been detained for more than two years, the report - Beyond Abu Ghraib: detention and torture in Iraq - said.

"It is a dangerous precedent for the world that the US and UK think it completely defensible to hold thousands of people without charge or trial," Amnesty spokesman Neil Durkin said.

The detainee situation in Iraq was comparable to Guantánamo Bay, he added, but on a much larger scale, and the detentions appeared to be "arbitrary and indefinite".

"It sends a very worrying message to the people of Iraq that the multinational force does not think normal human rights standards apply," he said.

Amnesty said there was no fresh evidence of US-led troops abusing detainees in ways similar to Abu Ghraib prison, but it warned that the US practice of denying detainees access to lawyers or visits by relatives for their first 60 days in custody left the door open to mistreatment.

In a few weeks, I'll be stopping in Dallas on a flight to Canada. I certainly hope that the U.S. government does not "liberate" me like they did my countryman Maher Arar.

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