UN rights commissioner calls for international inquiry into Iraqi prisons

UN rights commissioner calls for international inquiry into Iraqi prisons

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] Louise Arbour Friday called for an international investigation [UNHCHR press release] into present conditions in Iraqi jails after 173 malnourished, beaten and possibly tortured detainees [JURIST report] were found in a secret Iraqi Interior Ministry [Global Security backgrounder] prison facility earlier this week. The Iraqi government has already announced plans to investigate the prisoner abuse itself, and on Thursday said it would extend the investigation to all facilities nationwide [JURIST report], but Arbour indicated that an internal governmental inquiry may not be enough:

In the light of the apparently systemic nature and magnitude of the problem, and the importance of public confidence in any inquiry, I urge the authorities to consider calling for an international inquiry. An international element would help the authorities address the problems in the system of detention in an impartial and objective way.

The mistreated detainees were found by US troops in an underground bunker near the Interior Ministry's compound in Baghdad and Sunni Arab politicians have alleged that Shiite militias are to blame. Reuters has more.