Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BAGHDAD1019
2006-03-28 12:06:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

JOINT DETENTION INSPECTION: SUBSTANDARD

Tags:  MOPS MARR PHUM PGOV IZ 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGB #1019/01 0871206
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 281206Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3588
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 001019 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/27/2016
TAGS: MOPS MARR PHUM PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: JOINT DETENTION INSPECTION: SUBSTANDARD
CONDITIONS, OVERWHELMINGLY SUNNI ARAB


Classified By: Acting POLMIL COUNS Evan G. Reade for
reasons 1.4 (a) and (d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 001019

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/27/2016
TAGS: MOPS MARR PHUM PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: JOINT DETENTION INSPECTION: SUBSTANDARD
CONDITIONS, OVERWHELMINGLY SUNNI ARAB


Classified By: Acting POLMIL COUNS Evan G. Reade for
reasons 1.4 (a) and (d)


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On March 22, the Joint Inspection
Detention Facility Team (JIDFT) conducted its sixth
unannounced inspection. The inspection took place at the
Ministry of Interior (MoI) detention facility known as al
Baladiyat, located at 3rd Public Order Brigade (POB)
Headquarters in Sadr City. The facility housed 203
detainees in substandard conditions. In our informal
polling, it was found that over 90% were Sunni Arabs
from the Sunni Arab-dominated Baghdad neighborhoods
of Dora and Salman Pak, while the remaining detainees
were Shia from the same areas. Most detainees
interviewed said they have been in detention
for over two months without access to a lawyer, have
no understanding of the allegations against them, and
all have been denied communication with family members.
Facility management did not deny these allegations,
and added that the assigned investigative judge has
not been to the facility in over tendays. They also
said they have been instructed that family visitation
is against MoI policy.


2. (SBU) SUMMARY CONT. Of the 203 detainees, the
facility had personal files for 151, accompanied
by judicial orders authorizing their detention.
We were told the remaining 52 detainees had
recently been transferred from the POB headquarters
(Camp Justice) due to a lack of space at that facility.
While there was a letter signed by a judge authorizing
the detention of the 52 individuals, there were no
personal files for any of them at the facility. In a
random review of the 151 files on hand, it was found
that many detainees are being held on vague allegations
made by "secret sources" in their neighborhoods without
any corroborating evidence. None of the detainees
complained of recent abuse, although some complained
they were physically abused by Iraqi units
at the time of arrest.

--------------
PRIMARY AREAS OF CONCERN
--------------


3. (SBU) Cleanliness. The facility housed 203 detainees

in six rooms, about 15, x 30,. Each room held
approximately 35 detainees. The rooms were dirty, unswept
and were poorly ventilated. There were no toilets,
shower facilities, or access to running water in the rooms.
There was little to no bedding available for the detainees
except for a few blankets or fragments of cardboard boxes.
The detainees are not allowed outside or given
access to sunlight. Twice a day, they are allowed out of
the rooms to use the bathroom down the hall. Most rooms
contained water bottles full of urine. Detainees
complained that they were only allowed to shower once a
week or less. These unsanitary conditions undoubtedly
contributed to the horrendous odor that wafted from each
room and the lice infestation that was observed. (NOTE:
Upon the inspection team,s insistence, management allowed
all detainees to shower. Members of the team monitored the
process to ensure completion.)


4. (SBU) Medical Care. There is no on-site medical.
We were told that if urgent medical care is needed, the
detainee is taken to an Iraqi hospital for care. While
none of detainees currently needed urgent medical care,
many appear to be in need of routine medical care for
minor illnesses or preexisting medical conditions. The
facility had no means to screen detainees to
determine if they were infectious or in need of medical care.



5. (SBU) Physical Abuse. None of the detainees
complained of recent abuse although some complained
of being physically abused by the Iraqi units that
captured them.


6. (SBU) Food and Water Supply. The detainees are fed
three times a day but with minimal portions. These food
rations consist of an extremely high starch diet of
rice and bread, along with some form of lentil soup or
sauce. No other forms of food, such as meats, fruits,
or vegetables are provided to the detainees. While water
bottles are available, detainees were dehydrating
themselves because they are only allowed to go to the
bathroom twice a day.


7. (SBU) Bedding and Clothing. There was little to no
bedding made available for the detainees. Some detainees
had torn up cardboard boxes to lie on or had a thin blanket,
but approximately 75% of the detainees had nothing to lie
on. Clothing was not provided nor was any means of washing
clothes made available.


8. (SBU) Access to Families. Detainees were not allowed
to communicate with family members. One detention official
stated that it was a MoI internal policy that prohibited
any of the detainees outside communication. Later
during the inspection process, the new facility commander
stated that he was implementing a new policy and would
allow family visits starting on April 1, 2006.


9. (SBU) Access to Judicial Process. The investigative
judge assigned to the facility was not present during
the inspection. Of the 203 detainees, 151 had personal
files, including a judicial orderauthorizing their
detention. We were told the remaining 52 detainees had
recently been transferred from the POB headquarters
(Camp Justice) due to a lack of space at that facility.
While there was a letter signed by a judge authorizing the
detention of the 52 individuals, there were no files for
any of them. A random review of the files on hand showed
that most files only contained vague allegations against
the detainees such as "he commits violence against Shia"
or "he is involved in bomb making". There was no
evidence in the files of investigation by either
judicial or MoI investigators into the allegations.


10. (SBU) Ethnic-Sectarian Issues. In an informal
poll conducted during the inspection, it was found
that over 90% of the detainees were Sunni Arabs
from the Dora and Salman Pak area of Baghdad while
the remaining number were Shia from the same locations.
Both Baghdad neighborhoods are Sunni Arab dominated.

--------------
FOLLOW UP ACTION
--------------


11. (SBU) Iraqi and MNF-I team representatives will
draft separate findings to submit to the Office of
the Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior.


12. (SBU) MNF-I will recommend a SPTTs team visit the
detention center to train staff on preventative medical
care. Simple procedures can easily be implemented to
reduce the likelihood of disease and infestation. For
example, a coordinated effort can be made to delouse the
detainees, clean the detention cells and wash the
detainees, clothing to get rid of the lice. Detainees
should be allowed access to the toilets at least four times
per day and allowed outside in the sunlight at least once a
day.


13. (SBU) The Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights member on
the team will send a follow up team to the facility next
week to follow up on the 52 individuals detained without
personal files, review the progress made by the detention
management to implement a family visitation policy, and
check on the status of the investigative judge assigned
to the facility.

--------------
COMMENT
--------------


14. (C) COMMENT: The joint inspections conducted
thus far have found that the Iraqi detention system
is overloaded, underfunded, mismanaged, and inherently
abusive. Real reform of this sector will take
commitment, resources, time, and coordination across
several ministries. Detainees are left to languish
in substandard "warehouse" situations without access
to families or legal counsel and under the supervision of
untrained guards without clear authorities. Because
so many detainees lack complete case files,
intimidation and bribery of judges as well as induced
confessions are a serious issue. Further, limited
judicial capacity mandates long waits for
detainee hearings and trials. We will continue
our efforts to assist the Iraqis in detention reform.
However, the new Iraqi government, once established,
must make reform a priority.
KHALILZAD