BAGHDAD, Iraq, AP – A new U.N. human rights report condemned continuing insurgent violence in Iraq while issuing a stinging indictment of alleged torture and summary executions by Interior Ministry forces.
The bimonthly report by the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq cited "serious allegations of extra-judicial executions taking place which underline a deterioration in the situation of law and order."
The United Nations report, released Thursday, took special note of the Aug. 25 discovery of "the bodies of 36 men, blindfolded, handcuffed, bearing signs of torture and summarily executed" near the Iranian border.
A top Sunni cleric has said the men”s bodies, found in a dry riverbed, were believed to be those of Sunni Arabs kidnapped a day earlier from their northern Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriyah.
"Families of the victims reported to the Human Rights Office that the men had been detained on 24 August … following an operation carried out by forces linked to the Ministry of Interior," the United Nations said.
The same thing was reported after 11 men were detained by Interior Ministry forces on July 10 in a different Baghdad neighborhood and "found dead three days later at the Medico Legal Institute," according to the report.
In addition to the alleged summary executions and mass arrests, the U.N. said it had "first and second hand accounts from Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk and the Kurdish governorates, as well as corroborating information from other credible sources … (of) the systematic use of torture during interrogations at police stations and within other premises belonging to the Ministry of Interior."
The U.N. said it had brought the allegations before Iraqi authorities and "it is expected…violations will be investigated and the results of such investigations be made public."
Both the insurgents and some government-linked groups have been accused of running so-called death squads in a growing wave of vengeance killings in the shadows of the unrelenting sectarian and ethnic violence in the country, more than two years after the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein.