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Iraqi government investigations document rampant police corruption, abuse

[JURIST] Iraqi Interior Ministry investigations into Iraqi police operations have revealed over 400 incidents of police misconduct, "including the rape of female prisoners, the release of terrorism suspects in exchange for bribes, assassinations of police officers and participation in insurgent bombings", the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday. Some 400 authenticated documents covering part of 2005 and 2006 detail incidents involving dozens of police units and hundreds of officers, including police chiefs, most of whom were not punished.

In February US military officials vowed to improve Iraqi police forces [JURIST report] and in March US Army Lieutenant General Martin Dempsey [official profile], head of the Multi-National Security Transition Command in Iraq [official website], declared 2006 would be "the year of the police" [US Department of State press release], promising a renewed effort to instill professionalism in the force. The US State Department has noted, however, that "despite great progress and genuine commitment on the part of many ministry officials, the current climate of corruption, human rights violations, and sectarian violence found in Iraq's security forces undermines public confidence." President Bush has said that securing a legitimate Iraqi police force is crucial to an eventual withdrawal of US troops. AFP has more.

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