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Report Says Torture Still Routine In Iraqi Jails

25 January 2005 -- Human Rights Watch said in a report released today that Iraqi authorities routinely torture prisoners.

The U.S.-based human rights watchdog said prisoners have been beaten with cables and hose pipes, and suffered electric shocks to their earlobes and genitals. It said that some have been starved of food and water and crammed into standing-room only cells.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the group's Middle East and North Africa division said the Iraqi interim government is not keeping its promises to honor and respect basic human rights.

Human Rights Watch said it interviewed 90 Iraqi prisoners between July and October last year, just after the government of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi assumed power from the U.S.-led forces that toppled former President Saddam Hussein.

Seventy-two prisoners said they had been tortured or mistreated. The report also said Iraq's intelligence service had violated the rights of political opponents.

Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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