Iraq's Shiite interior minister accused critics Thursday of exaggerating reports of torture at a basement seized by American soldiers last weekend, saying inmates included both Shiites and Sunnis and only a handful showed signs of abuse.
Interior Minister Bayn Jabr suggested some making the torture allegations were supporting the "insurgency". He added the Interior Ministry facility in the capital's Jadriyah district had held "dangerous terrorists," including one man accused of building six car bombs, he noted.
Jabr appeared with senior commanders to try to ease a crisis that grew Tuesday after Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, under pressure from the Americans, announced that 173 detainees had been located by American troops at the Jadriyah facility.
Most of the detainees were believed to be Sunnis, prompting Sunni politicians to demand an international investigation.
According to the AP, Jabr said only seven detainees showed signs of abuse "and the people behind the beatings will be punished according to the law."