Sunday, March 04, 2007

At least 37 freed as evidence of torture found in raid on Basra detention center

In December, British troops raided, then destroyed the al-Jameat police station for death squad and toruture activities.

BASRA, Iraq, March 4 (Reuters) - Iraqi forces backed by British troops found evidence of torture when they raided an Iraqi intelligence agency detention centre in the southern city of Basra on Sunday, a British military spokesman said.

Officials at the detention centre, part of a police compound in the city, told Reuters on Sunday that 37 prisoners were freed in the raid. They showed reporters offices that had been searched, with files thrown on the floor, desks overturned and doors broken open in the pre-dawn raid.

British Major David Gell said the raid on the National Iraqi Intelligence Agency detention facility in central Basra was part of an operation led by Iraqi forces.

"Five individuals were arrested on suspicion of serious terrorist activities including involvement in improvised explosive devices and attacks against both civilians and multinational forces," Gell said.

"The Iraqi counter-terrorist forces then exploited information received and that's when the National Iraqi Intelligence Agency building was subsequently struck," he said.

"We believe there were about 30 people found imprisoned in the building and there was evidence of torture," Gell said.

Shi'ite militias vying for control of the oil-rich city are suspected of infiltrating police in Basra and it is not the first time British-backed raids have targeted police facilities.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

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