Iraq denies claims of prison abuse

The Iraqi Interior Ministry is denying U.S. claims some of the 625 prisoners discovered last week in an overcrowded detention center had been tortured.

Last week, a surprise U.S.-Iraqi search of the detention center run by a commando unit attached to the Iraqi Interior Ministry resulted in the discovery of the prisoners, 13 of whom required hospitalization, according to the New York Times.

But Sami al-Anbagi, director general of the Interior Ministry insisted Monday none had been tortured.

"Only a few guys were slapped on their faces," Anbagi said. "The prisoners who were taken to the hospital didn't have any serious injuries. They suffered from headaches only."

He also suggested emotions run high in the prison.

"What do you want policemen to do after their colleagues have been attacked? Policemen die everyday because of those guys," he said.

However, U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said the men's conditions were worse than Anbagi claimed.

"These were very real medical conditions that needed immediate attention," UPI quoted Johnson as saying.


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