Iraq: tortured to death: hundreds of innocents / mo.


Richard Moore


Malta: The Times
Monday, February 20, 2006
US 'aware' of Iraq torture
Herman Grech

The US is "aware" of torture taking place in Iraqi prisons,
according to the outgoing Maltese UN human rights chief in

"Yes, torture is happening now, mainly in illegal detention
places. Such centres are mostly being run by militia that
have been absorbed by the police force," says John Pace, who
retired last week as human rights chief for the UN
assistance mission in Iraq.

In a frank interview with The Times, Dr Pace says photos and
forensic records have proved that torture was rife inside
detention centres. Though the process of release has been
speeded up, there are an estimated 23,000 people in
detention, of whom 80 to 90 per cent are innocent.

He says the Baghdad morgue received 1,100 bodies in July
alone, about 900 of whom bore evidence of torture or summary
execution. That continued throughout the year and last
December there were 780 bodies, including 400 having gunshot
wounds or wounds as those caused by electric drills.

Dr Pace expresses deep concern over the progress of the
Saddam Hussein trial, saying he would have preferred to see
the former dictator tried internationally. After two years
serving in Iraq, Dr Pace says that the non-existence of law
and order has left society without any protection, clearly
reflecting that the US invasion was not properly planned.



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