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More than 13,000 being held by coalition in Iraqi prisons; Less than 2% have been convicted


As more and more Iraqis have been detained and released, the insurgency has intensified. The number detained has more than doubled in the last year and a half; the number of attacks has also more than doubled over the same period. Evidence suggests the current system of abusive detentions is a significant factor.

By Larisa Alexandrovna, RAWSTORY.com

Recent documents leaked to RAW STORY reveal that as of Nov. 8, coalition forces in Iraq held 13,514 in Iraqi prisons. The documents also reveal the grim landscape of Iraq's internment system, in which just two percent of those detained been convicted. A UN report has confirmed the basic figures.

A slide created by Detainee Operations at US Central Command (CENTCOM), provided to RAW STORY, reveals that 13,514 detainees are currently held inside coalition-run internment camps throughout Iraq. The figure represents a huge spike from March 2004 – when just 5,673 were reported held, according to a source familiar with the documents.

U.S. forces have held 35,000 detainees in Iraq since the onset of war. Of those, only 1,300 have been tried, and only half of those tried have been convicted, averaging roughly two percent of the detainee population. The combined figures of those detainee in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 is upwards of 70,000.

According to CENTCOM sources, the Central Criminal Court of Iraq has so far held 684 'Coalition trials' involving 1,259 security detainees, in which a total of only 636 detainees were convicted. Sources say that in total more than 21,000 detainees have been released from Iraq internment facilities.

A significant proportion of those who have been detained and subjected to abuse are joining (or rejoining) the insurgency upon their release. A year after the invasion, according to official U.S. figures, the average number of insurgent attacks on Coalition and Iraqi forces was less than 200 per week. The number of attacks in October 2005, however, is now at its highest level ever: more than 550 attacks per week. The average number of civilian casualties per day is also at the highest recorded figure: more than 60 per day.

Camp Cropper, housed at the Baghdad International Airport, is considered to be the prime locaition of the worst detainee abuse and was the precursor on detainee abuse techniques to Abu Ghraib. Among the scandals of Camp Cropper, the most notable is the 2003 shooting of five unarmed detainees. Though Camp Cropper was alleged to have been shut down in September of 2003, it still continues to operate, according to the CENTCOM slide.

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