Thousands of detainees being held by the occupation forces in Iraq "are trapped in a system of arbitrary detention that denies them their basic rights," Amnesty International said in a report published Monday. At the same time, there is increasing evidence of torture of detainees by the Iraqi security forces.
"Three years after it toppled Saddam Hussain, the US-led alliance has failed to put in place measures which respect the basic rights of detainees under its control and to safeguard them from possible torture or other abuses. The system of detention that has been established is arbitrary and a recipe for possible abuse," said Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Program.
Some detainees have now been held without charge or trial for more than two years without being given an adequate opportunity to challenge the reasons for their imprisonment. They face the prospect of being held for years more on the basis of information to which they do not have access. The systems the US and UK use to review detainees' cases fail to meet international standards, including the requirement for court oversight. Detainees are also routinely denied access to lawyers and their families.