Daily archives: March 6, 2006

The Lancet publishes research on government under-reporting of British casualties in Iraq

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The highly regarded medical research journal, The Lancet, has published an analysis of government under-reporting of British casualties in the Iraq war. The research was conducted by Professor Sheila Bird of the MRC Biostatistics Unit at Cambridge, and illustrates the difficulties in trying to obtain accurate information from the government. It also confirms that casualty figures are almost certain to be much higher than stated by John Reid, the Minister of Defence.

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Beyond Abu Ghraib – lessons still not learnt

Amnesty International have issued a new report on detainee abuse by coallition and Iraqi army units in Iraq.

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From Reuters AlertNet

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) – Amnesty International condemned the detention in Iraq of around 14,000 prisoners without charge or trial, saying on Monday the lessons of the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal had not been learned.

“As long as U.S. and U.K. forces hold prisoners in secret detention conditions, torture is much more likely to occur, to go undetected and to go unpunished,” Amnesty’s U.K. Director Kate Allen said. In a 48-page-report entitled “Beyond Abu Ghraib”, the London-based human rights group called for an end to the internment, which it said contravened international law.

“After the horrors of life under Saddam and then the fresh horror of U.S. prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, it is shocking to discover that the multinational forces are detaining thousands of people without charge or trial,” Allen said. “Not only have there been recent cases of prisoners being tortured in detention, but to hold this huge number of people without basic legal safeguards is a gross dereliction of responsibility on the part of both the U.S. and U.K. forces.”

Amnesty highlighted the case of Kamal Muhammad, also known as Abdullah Al-Jibouri, who it said was a 43-year-old father of 11 held without charge by U.S. forces for over two years. “His brother reports that he has received insufficient food and has lost some 20 kilos in weight in prison,” Amnesty said.

It said over 200 detainees had been imprisoned for more than two years and nearly 4,000 for over a year. “There are chilling signs that the lessons of Abu Ghraib have not been learnt,” Allen said. “Not only prisoners being held in defiance of international law, but the allegations of torture continue to pour out of Iraq.”

Human rights activists and others have often criticised the United States over its treatment of prisoners in Iraq, where it is holding around 30 times as many prisoners as it is at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The U.S. military says it has a policy against torture, but has acknowledged using interrogation techniques that include placing detainees in stress positions. In the Abu Ghraib scandal, U.S. soldiers were pictured sexually humiliating prisoners and menacing them with dogs at the jail near Baghdad.

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