Thursday, June 18, 2009

In Iraq, prisoners go on hunger strike over abuse

Iraqi prisoners have staged a full-scale hunger strike in protest at reported calculated abuse aimed at forcing false confessions out of them.

On Monday, an interior ministry prison in the capital, Baghdad witnessed the massive reaction which also targeted dilatory trends in the legal actions to which they were somehow related.

"I don't have accurate figures but they number in the hundreds," AFP quoted Ahmed al-Masoudi, a spokesman for the parliamentary bloc loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Nearly half of the protesters reportedly belonged to the cleric's movement.

"They are protesting because they have been systematically tortured and forced to confess to things they didn't do," Masoudi added.

"The violations against some prisoners went as far as rape. Some of them have spent more than a year in these prisons and so far haven't been brought to trial."

On Friday, Iraqi lawmakers televised a request for an independent inquiry into reported cases of abuse and death in the country's prisons.

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