Saturday, February 03, 2007

Perspective: US unsure when or if it can hand over prisons to Iraq

"God help me" scrawled on the cell door

BAGHDAD, Feb 2 (Reuters) - U.S. forces are taking longer than expected to train Iraqis to run their prisons and have no clear view of when, if ever, they can entrust security suspects they hold to the overall control of the Iraqi authorities.

Acknowledging reports of torture and abuse in Iraqi-run prisons, the commander of U.S. camps that house 15,500 detainees said he was working to raise standards among Iraqis to the point where Washington can hand over its responsibilities without breaching its obligations to protect its prisoners from harm.

"The biggest challenge is legal authority to hold detainees," Major General Jack Gardner told Reuters in an interview, saying Iraq first needed appropriate facilities and to show it could meet international "standards of care".

Read the rest at Reuters