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US ‘runs secret jails in Iraq’

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has backed the findings of a Christian peace group that says it has evidence of a string of secret prisons run by the United States across Iraq.

Prisoners "are often moved around the country. We have written to the US secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, about this, but have so far had no response," said a spokesman for Amnesty International, Steve Ballinger.

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) say that it has evidence of 18 prisons run by US forces in Iraq, although the multinational forces usually refer only to three — Abu Ghraib, Bucca Camp and Camp Cropper.

Two of CPT’s workers, Sheila Provencher and Cliff Kindy, revealed evidence of the "secret" prison system after meeting Haji Ali, a staff worker with Victims of American Prison Association, in Baghdad.

A British Defence spokesman in Basra, Squadron Leader Sean McFetrich, said that British monitoring teams had no evidence of "deliberate detainee mistreatment" in Bucca Camp, where the vast majority of UK detainees had initially been held.

He also said that conditions within the British-run Divisional Temporary Detention Facility at Shaibah, where UK detainees were currently sent, were "fairly good".

Squadron Leader McFetrich said that the International Committee of the Red Cross representatives had had full and unfettered access to UK detention facilities "from the outset".

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