We’ve come full circle in Iraq.
An Iraqi general formerly in charge of special forces said he witnessed horrific scenes of torture in Iraqi prisons and accused a Shiite militia of being responsible.
“It was horrific. Thousands of detainees, often teenagers, beaten, burned, receiving electric shocks, then the majority killed,” Muntazar al-Samarrai, who fled Iraq for Jordan five months ago, told AFP.
In video footage Samarrai said he filmed at one detention center, men show whip marks and acid burns. One of them has lost an eye. Another’s legs are broken. Still another has nails driven into his body.
The video also shows the mutilated corpses of three men who Samarrai said died as a result of torture.
He said Iraq’s Interior Minister Bayan Jabr Solagh had named as ministry policemen 17,000 fighters from the Badr organization, the disarmed militia of the pro-Iranian Shiite fundamentalist Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).
The ministry forces “continued to receive salaries from Tehran,” and “spoke amongst themselves in Farsi,” he said.
Samarrai said the interior ministry chiefs were all members of SCIRI or the Shiite Dawa party and that the prisoners were “all Sunnis.”
“The torturers were all Iranians or Iraqis who had lived in Iran and had come to Iraq after the (US-led) invasion” in 2003, he added.
Last month, the US military said it dismantled one of Iraq’s secret detention facilities in Baghdad, but Samarrai said nine other such facilities are lurking throughout the country.
Three are located in the Iraqi capital, the largest of which holds 600 detainees, and at least three more are in largely Shiite regions of the country, he said.
He also said there are two detention centers for women in Baghdad where “female prisoners are tortured and raped.”
The testimony given by a Shiite woman during ousted dictator Saddam Hussein’s trial last week “could have been the testimony of a female prisoner in one of these centers. Nothing has changed,” he said.