just yesterday in the arizona republic an article ran saying the iraqi president doesnt support torture. then this article runs today.
Iraqi security suspected of torturing 2 to death
Borzou Daragahi and Louise Roug Los Angeles Times Dec. 14, 2005 12:00 AM
BAGHDAD - Two detainees may have been tortured to death at the hands of Iraqi security forces, the head of a commission investigating allegations of abuse at Iraqi jails said Tuesday.
But the cause of their deaths is unclear, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Rosh Shawais, who is heading the investigation, said in an interview.
Detainees told investigators that the two alleged victims were tortured or starved to death, while prison officials say the pair died of natural causes.
In all, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters Tuesday, at least 120 prisoners have been abused at the hands of Iraqi security forces, more than previously disclosed by the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. As many as 18 prisoners may have died while in custody at a Baghdad detention center.
Shawais, an ethnic Kurd, said he is continuing to investigate reports of other deaths.
The new allegations have surfaced at the end of a heated and sometimes violent political campaign leading up to Thursday's parliamentary vote. On Tuesday, Mizhir Dulaimi, a Sunni Arab candidate for parliament, was killed, and a prominent Shiite candidate was targeted in an assassination attempt.
Meanwhile, four U.S. soldiers died Tuesday after their patrol struck a roadside bomb northwest of the capital. Nearly 2,150 American service members have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.
Reports of prisoner abuse in Iraqi-run jails first surfaced last month after U.S. soldiers raided a compound in the Jadiriya section of Baghdad and discovered scores of men showing signs of hunger and torture.
Officials last week discovered another detention center where at least 13 prisoners showed signs of physical abuse.
On Monday, a Sunni politician released a DVD purportedly showing tortured detainees at a third facility, though the allegation could not be confirmed.
Shawais has presented a report to the prime minister detailing preliminary findings regarding alleged torture at the first compound discovered last month.
He said his committee will finish its final report before the end of the year. He requested an extension of the deadline in order to widen the scope of the investigation.
The allegations of abuses of suspected Sunni Arabs by security forces that are dominated by Shiite Muslims have become intertwined with the fierce political campaign.
A secular coalition led by former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, which is running against the Shiite-led government, has alleged human rights conditions in Iraq are now as bad as under Saddam Hussein.
Jaafari, at a luncheon organized for journalists, vowed Tuesday that his government would seriously examine the allegations. "We should provide prisoners with facilities that are up to international standards," he said.
However, Khalilzad brushed aside attempts by some officials in the Jaafari government to downplay the torture allegations.
"It was far worse than slapping around," the U.S. ambassador said, calling on the Iraqi government to speed up the investigation.