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Iraq president rejects rights comparison to Saddam regime

[JURIST] Iraqi President Jalal Talabani [BBC profile] has dismissed as "nonsense" allegations [Observer report] by former Iraqi Prime Minister and current parliamentary candidate Iyad Allawi that human rights abuses by Iraqi Shiites [JURIST report] are as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein's regime. In an interview [recorded video; excerpted transcript] with the BBC, Talabani said that no comparison can be made between recent reports of death squads and secret torture chambers [JURIST report] cannot be compared to Hussein's Iraq, which Talabani said devolved into "concentration camps on the ground and mass graves underground." Talabani said that Iraqis now enjoy a host of democratic rights, including freedom of expression and free elections. BBC News has more.

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