How Many More Iraqis Can You Throw Behind Bars Without Trial?

Reports that U.S. and Iraqi government jails hold nearly 100,000 prisoners, most of them languishing there without trial and proof of wrong doing, are appalling.

Most arrests in Iraq whether by U.S. or Iraqi troops are arbitrary, carried out with little or no evidence.

The U.S. was most vociferous in its condemnation of the former regime for its arbitrary and summary arrests and inhuman conditions of its prisons.

But for many Iraqis this so-called 'beacon of democracy' has even surpassed Saddam Hussein in human rights violations.

U.S. troops can do almost everything with impunity in Iraq. They have the right to seize any one in the country merely on suspicion of 'terror' which no authority in the world can define what it really means.

And to provide enough room for its Iraqi suspects, the U.S. has built numerous prisons in the country -- perhaps its only post-war reconstruction feat.

These arrests and the fact that tens of thousands of prisoners are held without trial provide clear evidence of the shallowness of U.S. claims of democracy and human rights.

Most of the 100,000 Iraqis held in U.S. and Iraqi prisons were picked up during military operations or raids on cities, towns, villages and neighborhoods.

Most of them have not been tried and do not know why they have been jailed.

The prisons are overcrowded and filthy and according to some sources unfit even for animals.

In democratic and civilized countries like the U.S. no one is jailed unless tried and found guilty.

In U.S.-occupied Iraq every Iraqi is a suspect and can be taken to prison without trial or proof for as long as the troops deem necessary.

And if an Iraqi prisoner is released after months or years of imprisonment because U.S. or Iraqi authorities eventually found he or she was innocent, there is no one to blame or no body to resort to for compensation.

The only thing that will partly cleanse U.S. sins and those of its lackeys in Iraq is to order an immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners since the jailers cannot produce enough evidence to persuade Iraqi courts to sentence them.

These suspects are innocent and their incarceration is a massive violation of their human rights.

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