Ongoing Prisoner Abuse Alleged At Iraqi Green Zone Facility
Their secret prison facility, Camp Honor, houses an unknown number of detainees without any access to the outside world.
The Times reports: "A former U.S. official and onetime Iraqi lawmakers who toured the jail in the past describe it as a prefabricated hangar of 36 cells that reeked of human waste. The windowless cells designed to hold one person were regularly jammed with at least six, they said. According to two men who were held there last spring, detainees were allowed outdoors every other day for 30 minutes, and most suffered from skin rashes."
Maliki had promised to close the jail in April 2010 after the Times first reported on its existence. His government has been in full control of the Green Zone since the beginning of 2009, though his military still works closely with U.S. Special Forces.
Iraq's Justice Minister said the allegations amounted to "lies", but U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch has been documenting rapes, electrocutions and beatings at the facility since early last year.
Maliki has other serious problems to contend with: violence has escalated severely, much of it targeted at public officials, security personnel and Christians. After barely holding on to power with promises of stability, recent suicide bombings may undermine Maliki's ability to lead.
Meanwhile, the prime minister seeks to centralize his own power, placing formerly independent agencies like the central bank and electoral agency under his cabinet.
U.S. forces remain an important presence in Iraq, with the fledgling government highly dependent on its expertise and equipment. A planned withdrawal by the end of 2011 looks unlikely.