Iraqi police on torture charges

Iraq's interior ministry has charged 57 employees, including a police general, with human rights abuses over the alleged torture of hundreds of detainees at a prison in eastern Baghdad.

    Many police officers are believed to have links to Shia militia

    Police Brigadier Abd al-Karim Khalaf said the charges marked the first time officers in Iraq's post-invasion police force had been charged with the crime of torture.

    The names of the accused are being withheld until their trials, but Khalaf said the general had already been under the police force's guidelines.

    Others charged included 19 officers, 20 noncommissioned officers and 17 patrolmen or civilian employees of the ministry, he said. All have been removed from their jobs.

    "All of these people will stand trial and the court will decide their fate," Khalaf said.

    The charges are the first to be brought against high-ranking police officers over allegations of torture, reported to be widespread among the poorly trained force.

    Torture chamber

    Last year, a police torture chamber was discovered in Baghdad, and this October an entire brigade of about 700 policemen was suspended from service and returned to its barracks because of suspected complicity in a mass kidnapping of Sunni workers.

    Iraqi detainees are often held in overcrowded cells with little sanitation, while alleged abuses include starvation and beatings.

    Officials say they plan to eventually retrain all 26 national police battalions - the interior ministry's paramilitary units - and identify those with ties to sectarian militias and criminal gangs.

    Many Iraqis are enraged by reports of detainee torture and other abuses in prisons run by the US military after the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, the former president.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.