Iraqi search of Baghdad jail exposes torture-paper

An Iraqi search of a government jail in Baghdad operated by the Interior Ministry found 13 prisoners who had been subjected to serious abuse, The Washington Post reported on Monday. An Iraqi official with firsthand knowledge of the search said at least 12 of the prisoners had suffered "severe torture," including electric shock, the newspaper said.

"Two of them showed me their nails and they were gone," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The newspaper's Baghdad-datelined report cited an Iraqi Human Rights Ministry statement as saying 13 of the prisoners had required medical treatment and the findings would be "subject to an investigation." The statement said 56 of the prisoners in the facility, inspected on Thursday, had been released immediately following the inspection and another 75 had been transferred to another facility.

A government spokesman, Laith Kubba, declined comment on the allegations that some prisoners in the facility operated by Interior Ministry special commandos had been tortured.

The detention center was the first examined as part of a government-ordered inquiry after U.S. troops last month found another jail where cases of prisoner abuse have been confirmed by U.S. and Iraqi officials.

Revelations of conditions in that prison, where most of those held were Sunni Arabs, has sharply raised sectarian tensions in the country less than a month before elections are to be held, the newspaper said, reports Reuters. I.L.

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