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Human Rights situation in Iraq is worse

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Human Rights situation in Iraq is worse

Post  Panda on Sun 22 Jan - 21:52

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- The human rights situation in
Iraq is worse now than it was a year ago, the campaign group Human
Rights Watch argues in a new report out Sunday, warning that people are
being tortured with impunity in secret prisons.

The group says it uncovered a secret prison where detainees were
beaten, hung upside down and given electric shocks to sensitive parts of
their bodies. Human Rights Watch based its claims on the testimony of
detainees themselves.

The Justice Ministry announced in March that it would close the
facility, Camp Honor, but Human Rights Watch says it has "credible
information that elite forces may still hold and interrogate detainees
at Camp Honor."

The group says the forces who control the facility report to the military office of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The government says it is still facing a major terrorist threat and
that detentions take place in accordance with the judicial process.

Ali al-Mousawi, an advisor to al-Maliki, strongly condemned the report Sunday.

He denied that there are secret prisons in Iraq or that that Iraqi
authorities have been torturing prisoners, but admitted there could be
"individual cases committed by individual security forces" who, he said,
would be "held accountable for their violations."

But Samer Muscati of Human Rights Watch is not convinced.

"It's not a one-off thing that is happening. ... This is
unfortunately a routine process that is going on," he said of abuse of
of prisoners.

"The security forces that have engaged in abuses need to be held to
account," he said, insisting: "There needs to be a strong emphasis from
the government that this will not be tolerated."

The group was also critical of the crackdown on peaceful protesters
by security forces, saying both the federal government and regional
authorities in Kurdistan "responded with violence" and "used legal means
to curtail protests."

At least 10 protesters and bystanders have been killed in Kurdistan, and more than 250 injured, the group said.

Another dozen were killed by security forces elsewhere in the country
during nationwide demonstrations in February, Human Rights Watch said.

Journalists in Iraq also suffered abuse and worse, with five
journalists and one other media worker killed, the group said, citing
the Committee to Protect Journalists.

And women and girls continued to be the victims of violence, both
from extremists who target women involved in public life, and family
members who commit "honor" crimes against them, Human Rights Watch said.

Al-Mousawi, the advisor to the prime minister, denied the government
had cracked down on protesters, the freedom of expression or the media.

Amnesty International has also been critical of the Iraqi government,
accusing it of failing to protect the media and civilians, carrying out
executions and treating Iranian refugees in the country improperly.

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq in Baghdad contributed to this report.

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