Iraqi Government Denies UN Torture Allegations

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The Iraqi government has denied allegations that it tortures prisoners, after Iraqi officials were questioned by a UN committee investigating suspected human rights abuses in the country’s jails. Brigadier General Saad Maan, Iraq’s interior ministry spokesman, said reports by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other groups about Iraq lack the right facts. Aljazeera reports:

Maan said that Iraq has a strong judicial system in place and that all prisoners receive due process.  Iraqi officials were challenged on Wednesday to name a single person the country had jailed for torture by the UN Committee against Torture investigating suspected human rights abuses in a justice system that it said had “gone astray”.

“Is there anyone in Iraq in prison, sentenced for torturing another human being? Is there one person? Five? Ten?” the chairman of committee, Claudio Grossman, asked the Iraqi delegation.

Another committee member, Alessio Bruni, said Iraq’s criminal law had no adequate definition of torture, so it could not adequately prosecute it. Other questions included whether Iraq has secret detention facilities, whether anybody had been compensated for being tortured, and how to explain trials that lasted a few minutes and led to the death penalty.

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