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Iraq detainee abuse problem worse than reported, US ambassador says

[JURIST] US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad [official profile] said Tuesday that more than 100 detainees [JURIST news archive] had been abused in two Iraqi detention facilities, a figure considerably greater than the 21 or 26 people previously reported as abused. An investigation [JURIST report] had been carried out following the discovery by US soldiers of 173 malnourished, beaten and possibly tortured detainees [JURIST report] in November. Khalilzad also said that from now on the US will have officers with Iraqi forces to observe raids and the process of taking detainees into custody. Khalilzad also commented on Sunday's report by the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry [JURIST report], which said that 13 prisoners in an overcrowded facility run were abuse victims who required medical treatment. Khalilzad said the number requiring treatment is at least 20. Iraqi officials have called the abuse allegations exaggerated [JURIST report] and the Iraqi Interior Ministry has said that none of the prisoners discovered last week had been tortured or abused. Khalilzad's comments come right before Thursday's Iraqi governmental elections [JURIST news archive], though early voting has started for soldiers, hospital patients, prisoner detainees and Iraqis abroad. Wednesday's New York Times has more.

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