Iraq prisoners on hunger strike, alleging torture

Fifty inmates at the central prison in the city of Amara in southern Iraq have began a hunger strike, claiming they had made confessions under torture and should be freed, a lawmaker said.

Last Updated: Feb 12, 2011, 23:36 PM IST

Amara: Fifty inmates at the central
prison in the city of Amara in southern Iraq have began a
hunger strike, claiming they had made confessions under
torture and should be freed, a lawmaker said today.

Mushraq Naji, a member of parliament`s legal affairs
committee, told that the inmates began their hunger strike
yesterday.

"The prisoners told us they had made confessions under
torture and demanded they be freed," Naji said, adding he had
visited the prison today together with another MP and several
ministers.

"We demand that the government announce a general amnesty
and give the prisoners a second chance," he said.

The 50 prisoners on hunger strike were all arrested for
links to the Mahdi Army of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr,
whose militia fought US and Iraqi forces in 2008.

The Amara prison holds between 500 and 600 prisoners, the
majority for common crimes.

In recent, both Amnesty International and Human Rights
Watch have said that Iraqi security forces operate secret
prisons where torture is routine.

PTI