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Ex-U.S. official: Iraq using torture

Aug. 4, 2009 at 10:53 AM

LONDON, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Iraq's government is using torture and abusive interrogation techniques on prisoners despite British and U.S. claims to the contrary, a former official says.

Thomas Cruise, a one-time U.S. adviser who worked at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense's human rights branch, is asking British officials to investigate what he claims was a blind eye turned to the alleged torture and slaying two years ago of prisoner Adnan Awad Mohammed Thaib al-Jumaili, The Times of London reported Tuesday.

The newspaper said Cruise claims Iraqi military interrogators used a cattle prod and lit cigarettes on Jumaili, and had spoken to British member of Parliament Ann Clwyd, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's human rights envoy to Iraq, who reportedly briefed Brown. The Times said the prime minister has since instructed the British Embassy in Baghdad to follow up on the matter with Iraqi officials.

"Torture is part of Iraqi society," Cruise told The Times. "The majority of people think it's totally acceptable to torture detainees. If you have a culture that accepts torture then it's pretty hard to instill a respect for human rights and the rule of law."

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