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Critics denounce Iraqi PM over WikiLeaks material

Allegations that Iraqi security forces tortured detainees, as described in new WikiLeaks documents, serve as a warning against keeping PM Nouri al-Maliki in power.

Baghdad: Allegations that Iraqi security
forces tortured detainees, as described in new WikiLeaks
documents, serve as a warning against keeping Prime Minister
Nouri al-Maliki in power, his main political rivals charged
on Saturday.

The trove of nearly 400,000 WikiLeaks documents detail
reports by the U.S. military of alleged abuse by Iraqi
security forces after al-Maliki, a Shiite, became prime
minister in May 2006. Such abuses were also widely reported in
Iraq before al-Maliki took the top job.

The opposition Iraqiya bloc says the allegations
demonstrate the need to ensure al-Maliki does not succeed in
staying in office through the political dealmaking that has
dragged on since March 7 national elections that failed to
produce a clear winner.

"The kind of practices and violations committed by
al-Maliki is what makes us insist on a mechanism to
participate in the decision-making because al-Maliki wants to
have all powers in his hands," said Iraqyia spokeswoman
Maysoun al-Damlouji.

"Putting all the security powers in the hands of one
person who is the general commander of the armed forces have
led to these abuses and torture practices in Iraqi prisons.``

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh has declined to
comment on the WikiLeaks papers, saying he has not seen them.

Most of the victims of abuse at the hands of Iraqi
security were believed to be Sunnis, many of whom supported
Iraqiya in the March election against al-Maliki`s
Shiite-dominated bloc. Although Iraqiya won two more seats
than any other political group in the vote, it fell far short
of capturing enough support to control parliament and, in
turn, oust al-Maliki.

The leaked documents include hundreds of reports from
across Iraq with allegations of abuse. In a typical case from
August 2006, filed by the 101st Airborne Division, US forces
discovered a murder suspect who claimed that Iraqi police hung
him from the ceiling by handcuffs, tortured him with boiling
water and beat him with rods.

A "serious incident report" filed in December 2009 in
Tal Afar said U.S. forces had obtained footage of about a
dozen Iraqi army soldiers, including a major, executing a
detainee. The video showed the bound prisoner being pushed
into the street and shot, the Americans said. There was no
indication of what happened to the video, or to the Iraqi
major or his soldiers. The incident is marked "closed."


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