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US detaining 14,000 in overseas prisons 'beyond reach of established law': AP

[JURIST] About 14,000 people are currently being detained by the US in overseas prisons in uncertain legal circumstances, the Associated Press reported Sunday. Some 13,000 are being held in Iraq. US officials have told the Red Cross that 70 to 90 percent of the tens of thousands of Iraqis detained in recent years have been "mistakes." As of September 9, fewer than 1,500 of the Iraq prisoners have been tried by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq [Wikipedia backgrounder]. The US recently closed its prison at Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive], but shifted the 3000 prisoners there to another detention facility at Camp Cropper. A total of 770 detainees have been sent to a prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba [JURIST news archive; JURIST report] where 455 still remain. Only ten of these prisoners have been charged with crimes.

Detainee mistreatment [CBC backgrounder; JURIST report] in Iraq has led to more than 800 investigations [JURIST report] of the actions of more than 250 US service personnel. In 14 of 34 cases, someone has been punished for the killings of detainees; the harshest sentence in these cases, however, has been five months in prison. A cause of death has been determined for only half of the 98 detainees [JURIST report] who have reportedly died so far in US custody, not including three suicides at Guantanamo in June of this year. AP has more.

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