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14,000 Detainees held without charge or trial in Iraq

Amnesty International has called for an end to the internment of thousands of detainees in Iraq by the Multinational Forces, as it released a new Repo rt showing that approximately 14,000 prisoners are being held without charge or trial in breach of international law. Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said: “After the horrors of life under Saddam and then the fresh horror of US prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, it is shocking to discover that the Multinational Forces are detaining thousands of people without charge or trial. “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 US and UK forces.” Amnesty International’s 48-page Report, Beyond Abu Ghraib: Detention and torture in Iraq condemns the fact that the US and UK forces have justified internments on the basis of secretive and unaccountable procedures that detainees are unable to effectively challenge. Interned prisoners are not allowed a visit by a lawyer or relatives for the first 60 days of their detention and many prisoners have despaired of ever being released or being given an opportunity to challenge their detention. Those held are regarded as “security detainees” and include over 200 who have been imprisoned for over two years. Nearly four thousand have been held for over a year without charge or trial.