173 prisoners found tortured by Iraqi Interior Ministry
It is reported that 173 (some reports have 170 to 200) prisoners, all or mostly Sunnis, were found in the basement of a building in Baghdad's neighborhood of Jadriyah in an Interior Ministry building. There are suspicions that the building may also have been used as a base for a militia called the Badr Brigade, and that such militias may have infiltrated Iraq's security services.
The detainees were found during a raid by U.S. Army and Iraqi troops, who were looking for a missing 15-year-old boy at the time.
The detainees were starved and showed signs of torture. Iraq's Deputy Interior Minister Hussein Kamal is quoted as saying
This is the worst and cannot be denied. I saw signs of physical abuse by brutal beating, one or two detainees were paralysed and some had their skin peeled off various parts of their bodies.Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari promised to get to the bottom of the issue, and a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry stressed that the abuse at the facility was counter to the wishes of the Jafari government. The U.S. Embassy and multinational forces then promptly congratulated Jafari for his commitment to investigate the abuse (ref).
Update: In several days time, Interior Minister Bayn Jabr will be quoted as saying that "those who are supporting terrorism are making the exaggerations" about the torture, and that only seven detainees showed signs of abuse.
This report adds to the already substantial evidence of torture by the new Iraqi government's Interior Ministry, which has been occurring since at least July 2004, sometimes in the presence of, and with the apparent approval of, U.S. military forces.