January 24, 2011
Reporting from Baghdad â€” An elite security force affiliated with Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s office is holding detainees in miserable conditions for months at a time without access to lawyers or families despite Maliki’s pledge last year to rein in the unit, Iraqi officials and diplomatic sources say.
Some detainees at the center, in a sprawling Defense Ministry compound in Baghdad’s Green Zone, have been held for up to two years, according to the sources, who said that restricted access has prevented them from investigating allegations of beatings and other violence. Iraqi officials said efforts to aggressively monitor the facility appeared to have ended.
“It is inaccessible, and no one can go there,” said one senior diplomatic source. “Lawyers cannot get there. Families cannot go there.”