BAGHDAD: Iraqi men were raped, electrocuted and beaten in a ”secret prison” in Baghdad, Human Rights Watch said in a harrowing report reminiscent of the abuses at Abu Ghraib.The organisation interviewed 42 men who had recently been transferred from a jail where they say the brutality took place to another prison in Baghdad, after details of misconduct were passed to the government.Human Rights Watch described the prisoners’ accounts of abuse as ”credible and consistent”, and said there must be an independent and impartial investigation. It called for prosecutions at the highest level.”The horror we found suggests torture was the norm in Muthanna,” the watchdog’s deputy Middle East director, Joe Stork, said, referring to the west Baghdad prison where the men were held until recently.”The government needs to prosecute all those responsible for this systematic brutality.”The men held at the prison were Sunni Arabs from the northern province of Nineveh, who were arrested between September and December last year, the report said yesterday.The existence of the jail has caused alarm for the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, whose officials said it was shut two weeks ago after the Los Angeles Times reported the abuse allegations.Human Rights Watch said Iraqi prison guards hung blindfolded prisoners upside down during interrogations, then kicked, whipped and beat them before placing a dirty plastic bag over their heads’ to cut off their air supply.When prisoners passed out, they were awoken by electric shocks to their genitals or other parts of the body, the report said.The detainees, who were interviewed at the Al-Rusafa detention centre in Baghdad on Monday, said that interrogators and security officials sodomised some men with broomsticks and pistol barrels.In other developments, Iraq has delayed until next week a ruling on whether nine winning candidates in the parliamentary election held on March 7 will be disqualified, an official said, in another hold-up for the country’s political process.Agence France-Presse
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