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Shiite Militias Control Prisons, Official Says

Posted on Jun 16, 2006

Shiite militiamen have overrun Iraq’s prison system. “We cannot control the prisons. It’s as simple as that,” says the country’s deputy justice minister. The prisons won’t be turned over to Iraqi control until relative order is restored.

Hard to know which side to take on this one: There’s apparently a fair chance of Iraqi prisoners getting tortured no matter which country runs the jails.

Washington Post:

BAGHDAD—Iraq’s prison system is overrun with Shiite Muslim militiamen who have freed fellow militia members convicted of major crimes and executed Sunni Arab inmates, the country’s deputy justice minister said in an interview this week.

“We cannot control the prisons. It’s as simple as that,” said the deputy minister, Pusho Ibrahim Ali Daza Yei, an ethnic Kurd. “Our jails are infiltrated by the militias from top to bottom, from Basra to Baghdad.”

As a result, Yei has asked U.S. authorities to suspend plans to transfer prisons and detainees from American to Iraqi control. “Our ministry is unprepared at this time to take over the facilities, especially those in areas where Shiite militias exist,” he said in a letter to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John D. Gardner, the official in charge of American detention facilities.


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