Iraq holding thousands in secret prisons: lawmaker

Iraqi opposition lawmaker claims government holding thousands in unofficial prisons

An Iraqi opposition lawmaker claimed Thursday that thousands of his countrymen are being mistreated in detention centers outside the official prison system.

Sunni legislator Mohammed al-Daini claimed the government and paramilitary groups control 420 unofficial detention centers to hold people without legal justification.

Speaking through an interpreter, al-Daini told reporters in Geneva he had gained access to 13 such prisons and obtained government reports that proved the existence of a secret detention network.

He offered no proof for his claim that prisoners are executed or raped in the centers, but said he would provide evidence to U.N. human rights officials and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Calls to Iraqi government representatives in Geneva were not returned.

According to a United Nations report, some 51,000 people were detained by U.S. forces and the Iraqi government at the end of last year. The report said some abuse had reportedly taken place during initial interrogations when detainees were held at unacknowledged locations before transfer to official detention facilities.

AP News