Shi'ite interior minister accused critics Thursday of exaggerating reports of torture by US troops last weekend, saying inmates included both Shi'ites and Sunnis, while only a handful showed signs of abuse.
The minister, Bayn Jabr, suggested some critics were supporting the insurgency and trying to use the American embassy to pressure him for personal gain. Detainees held at the Interior Ministry facility in the capital's Jadriyah district included "dangerous terrorists," including one man accused of building six car bombs.
Jabr said only seven detainees showed signs of abuse "and the people behind the beatings will be punished according to the law.
"I reject torture and I will punish those who perform torture," Jabr said. "No one was beheaded, no one was killed."