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Former Iraq PM Allawi says rights abuses as bad as under Saddam

[JURIST] In a bid to appeal to Sunni voters, former Iraqi interim prime minister Iyad Allawi [JURIST news archive; Iraqi National accord party website, in Arabic], a Shiite, said in an interview with the UK's Observer newspaper Sunday that human rights abuses by Iraqi Shiites are as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein's regime. Sunnis claim that they have been unjustly targeted by Shiite-led security forces; Allawi accused Shiites in the government of managing death squads and secret torture chambers [JURIST report], allegations which multiplied after the recent discovery of an Interior Ministry facility holding more than 170 mostly Sunni prisoners [JURIST report]. Allawi is running on a secular platform in the December 15 elections [JURIST news archive] separate from Shiite religious parties. Iraqi government officials have downplayed abuse reports as lies created by enemies, but Allawi used them to invoke memories of Saddam's regime and remind voters of "the precise reasons [they] fought Saddam." AP has more.

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