Friday, September 22, 2006

Torture reaches new depths in Iraq

Torture in Iraq is reportedly worse now than it was under deposed president Saddam Hussein, the United Nations' chief anti-torture expert said Thursday. Manfred Nowak described a situation where militias, insurgent groups, government forces and others disregard rules on the humane treatment of prisoners.

"What most people tell you is that the situation as far as torture is concerned now in Iraq is totally out of hand," said Nowak, the global body's special investigator on torture. "The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein."

Nowak, an Austrian law professor, was in Geneva to present a report on detainee conditions at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, as well as to brief the UN Human Rights Council, the global body's top rights watchdog, on the situation of torture in countries around the world.

He said that some allegations of torture in Iraq he received were undoubtedly credible. Government forces were among the perpetrators, Nowak said, citing ``very serious allegations of torture within the official Iraqi detention centres.

"You have terrorist groups, you have the military, you have police, you have these militias. There are so many people who are actually abducted, seriously tortured and finally killed," Nowak told reporters at the UN's European headquarters. "It's not just torture by the government. There are much more brutal methods of torture you'll find by private militias."



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