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Torture still used in Iraq, Amnesty says

Amnesty International on Monday said detainees in Iraq are still being tortured, receiving electric shocks and beatings with plastic cables, despite U.S. promises to prevent such abuse.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Detainees in Iraq are still being tortured receiving electric shocks and beatings with plastic cables despite U.S. promises to prevent such abuse after the Abu Ghraib scandal, a report by an international rights group said Monday.

The U.S. military said in response that all detainees are treated according to international conventions and Iraqi law.

Amnesty International said interviews in Jordan and Iraq with former detainees, relatives of current detainees and lawyers involved in detainees’ cases in Iraq showed that prisoner mistreatment has not ceased since the mistreatment revelations at Abu Ghraib prison three years ago.

“Since Abu Ghraib, the multinational force — and the United States in particular — promised they would put safeguards in place,” Amnesty spokeswoman Nicole Choueiry said. “But the (lack of) legal safeguards are still an obstacle to detainees getting and enjoying their human rights.”

New allegations?
In the Abu Ghraib case, photographs from 2003 showed Iraqi inmates being abused, triggering worldwide outrage that led to military trials and prison sentences for several lower-ranking American soldiers.

In the new allegations, former detainees claimed they were beaten with plastic cables, given electric shocks and made to stand in a flooded room as an electrical current was passed through the water, London-based Amnesty said.

Its report said the interviews were conducted last year and this year.

“Some of the detainees have been held for over two years without any effective remedy or recourse,” it said. “Others have been released without explanation or apology or reparation after months in detention, victims of a system that is arbitrary and a recipe for abuse.”

The U.S. military said all detainees are given a form explaining the reasons for their imprisonment and their files are reviewed every 90 to 120 days, U.S. detention command spokesman Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill said in an e-mailed response to questions from The Associated Press.

In February, new images of naked prisoners, some bloodied and lying on the floor, were broadcast by Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service. The images were taken about the same time as the earlier photos three years ago that triggered the worldwide scandal.