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Iraq to close controversial detention center over abuse claims

Iraq's Justice Ministry announced Monday that it will close a Green Zone detention center because of alleged human rights violations. Justice spokesperson Haidar al-Saad said this decision was made after last month's investigation [AP report] into the prison's living conditions. The prison population in the detention facility known as "Camp Honor" will be transferred to various other Iraqi prisons. Recently, human rights groups, including Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy websites], have responded to reports of detainee torture in Iraq, pressing for the Iraqi government to close detention centers that commit human rights abuses.

Last month, AI reported [text, PDF] that the Iraqi government is operating secret prisons [JURIST report], and suspects held in Iraqi custody have been systematically tortured since before the 2003 US invasion. The Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) [JURIST news archive], according to the report, regularly convicts defendants based on confessions extracted with the use of torture and ill-treatment. In September, AI published a report [text, PDF] alleging that the Iraqi government is unlawfully detaining and torturing [press release; JURIST report] thousands of detainees. In June, UN Special Representative to Iraq Ad Melkert urged the Iraqi government [JURIST report] to ratify the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [text]. Melkert stated that Iraq had made several advances in recognizing human rights violations, but the government's policy implementation still faces several obstacles.

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