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Iraq Shiite leaders may give up control of interior ministry

[JURIST] Shiite leaders in Iraq have indicated that they are willing to give up control of the Iraqi Interior Ministry, beleaguered in recent months by allegations of prisoner abuse [JURIST report] and death squads [JURIST report]. During negotiations on the formation of a new Iraqi government, Shiite representatives offered to give up control of the ministry, which controls police and special forces, in exchange for retaining control over the defense ministry and the armed forces. The Shiite-controlled interior ministry has been a source of contention with Iraq's Sunni population, especially after 170 Sunni detainees were found by Americans [JURIST report] at a secret police prison in Baghdad late last year.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that Iraq's detention practices may violate international law [JURIST report]. Amnesty International has expressed concern that the country's arbitrary detention practices facilitate prisoner abuse [JURIST report] and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq has reported that rights violations in Iraq are on the rise [JURIST report]. The Los Angeles Times has more.

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