Iraq abuse 'as bad as Saddam era'
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has said that
human rights abuses in Iraq today are as bad as those
during the rule of Saddam Hussein.
In an interview with the UK's Observer newspaper, Mr
Allawi said that Iraqis were being tortured and killed
by secret police in secret bunkers.
He said militias operated with impunity inside the
interior ministry and had infiltrated the police.
He urged action to stop "a disease" spreading
throughout the government.
The BBC's Chris Xia says Mr Allawi's comments appear
to be aimed at setting the agenda for the forthcoming
"People are doing the same as (in) Saddam Hussein's
time and worse," Mr Allawi told the newspaper.
"It is an appropriate comparison. People are
remembering the days of Saddam.
"These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam
Hussein, and now we are seeing the same things."
His remarks came two weeks after US troops discovered
170 apparently abused captives in a secret prison
inside an interior ministry building in Baghdad.
He said that if urgent action was not taken "the
disease infecting [the interior ministry] will become
contagious and spread to all ministries and structures
of Iraq's government".
He also warned of the danger of Iraq disintegrating in
"Iraq is the centrepiece of this region," he said. "If
things go wrong, neither Europe nor the United States
will be safe."
Mr Allawi was Iraq's first interim prime minister, but
he failed to win January's election which brought the
current Prime Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, to power.
He has since formed a coalition to contest next
month's parliamentary elections.