- - Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Watchdog: Iraq is running ‘secret’ prison

BAGHDAD | Iraqi security forces are operating a “secret detention site” in north Baghdad, and elite teams are torturing detainees at a separate facility in the capital, Human Rights Watch charged on Tuesday.

The New York-based watchdog’s claims come a week after the Los Angeles Times reported some detainees at a prison in the Iraqi capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone had been abused and held without charge for up to two years - charges Baghdad denies.

Human Rights Watch said that Iraqi authorities in late November moved nearly 300 detainees to a secret site within a military base known as Camp Justice in northwest Baghdad, citing interviews it had conducted and classified government documents it obtained.

“The hurried transfers took place just days before an international inspection team was to examine conditions at the detainees’ previous location at Camp Honour in the Green Zone,” the watchdog group said in a statement.

“The Iraqi government should immediately close the facilities or regularize their position and make them open for inspections and visits,” it added.


Premier drops choice for top general

JERUSALEM | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday nixed the designated next chief of Israel’s armed forces after receiving a legal opinion against the nomination.

Mr. Netanyahu’s office said that pending selection of a substitute for Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, who was to assume the top post on Feb. 14, he would be replaced by the current deputy chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh.

The shake-up comes at a time of heightened Israeli jitters over power struggles in neighboring Egypt and Lebanon, and arch-foe Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Netanyahu’s office said he intended to nominate a new chief of staff within 60 days.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein came out earlier on Tuesday against Gen. Galant, who had been taken to court by a public watchdog group that accused him of illegally annexing state land to his private homestead in northern Israel.


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