US transfers last prison under its control to Iraq
The United States handed over the last detention facility under its control to Iraqi authorities on Thursday, a milestone in Iraq`s push for complete sovereignty seven years after the US-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.
Baghdad: The United States handed over the last detention facility under its control to Iraqi authorities on Thursday, a milestone in Iraq`s push for complete sovereignty seven years after the US-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.
Iraq`s assumption of control over the base near the
international airport on the south-western outskirts of Baghdad
also marks the end of a troubling chapter in the US presence
in the country one defined for years by the Abu Ghraib
prisoner abuse scandal. With the handover, Iraq has now
assumed control of the last of three such prisons controlled
by US forces.
The transfer raises questions about how well prepared
the Iraqis are to handle the detainees, with concerns about
sectarian tensions spilling over into the prison system.
Inmates in Iraqi detention facilities have repeatedly
complained about torture and beatings by the police, as well
as overcrowding and poor conditions behind bars.
Prisoners in US custody, meanwhile, have benefited
from reforms in the wake of photographs showing mistreatment
of inmates by US soldiers at Abu Ghraib in 2004.
The American general in charge of detainee centres in
Iraq said the Iraqis were ready for the added responsibility.
"There is overwhelming evidence they are equipped,
prepared and poised to take over," Maj. Gen. Jerry Cannon
said, stressing that the detainees still being held by the US
were under Iraqi jurisdiction.
Camp Cropper held members of Saddam`s ousted regime,
who were housed in separate quarters from the other prisoners.
The ex-dictator was kept in a cell there until his December