Report: detainees tortured in Kurdish-run Iraq

Security forces in northern Iraq's Kurdistan, the heartland of the Kurdish minority long tormented by Saddam Hussein, routinely torture detainees with beatings and electric shocks and hold hundreds of prisoners for long periods without charge, a human rights group said Tuesday. The Human Rights Watch report - based on interviews conducted from April to October 2006 with more than 150 detainees - demanded a comprehensive overhaul of detention practices in the Kurdish region and urged an independent body to investigate torture claims. "We are surprised that the Kurds are practicing such violations after they were victims of torture during the Saddam era," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director for Human Rights Watch, said, referring to the ousted Iraqi leader's oppression of the Kurds. "We appreciate the efforts by Kurdistan government to combat terrorism and secure Kurdistan, but we see that such violations against prisoners are not a good thing," she told a press conference in the northern city of Irbil.