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2003-07-01

New Evidence Points to US Violations of International Law in its Treatment of Iraqi Detainees

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Amnesty International reports that Iraqi prisoners are subject to "cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions" at US detention centers in Baghdad. Hundreds of detainees have also have been denied the right to see families or lawyers or have a judge review their detention.

Agence France Press is reporting that four US soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in a rocket-propelled grenade attack on their Humvee today in Baghdad.

AFP based their report on eyewitness accounts. The US cordoned off the area and prevented access to journalists.

Meanwhile a huge explosion destroyed the al-Hassan mosque in Falluja last night. At least five Iraqis died and four more injured.

Iraqi civilians said the explosion was caused by a missile or a bomb strike. The U.S. disputed this charge saying the blast was likely caused by explosives from within the mosque.

In other Iraq news, the U.S. military has arrested the American-appointed governor of Najaf. The man, Abdul Munim Abud, was a former Iraqi army colonel. The U.S. charges he was involved in kidnappings and theft. The governor was one of 500 Iraqis detained over the past two days during massive sweeps by U.S. troops.

Amnesty International said Monday it has gathered evidence that points to US violations of international law by subjecting Iraqi prisoners to "cruel, inhuman or degrading conditions" at US detention centers in Baghdad.

Detainees held in Baghdad invariably reported that they suffered cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment immediately after arrest. Many were tightly bound with plastic handcuffs, denied water and access to a toilet in the first night of arrest.

Amnesty also said hundreds of Iraqis held at US-run tent camps and former government prisons have been denied the right to see families or lawyers or have a judge review their detention.

US military lawyers acknowledged to Amnesty that occupation forces have been unable until recently to create a system to inform families of detainees’ whereabouts.

Associated Press reported yesterday that a US military spokesman in Baghdad said military officials could not comment on the report because they had not yet received it.

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