Images show pleading inmates at Iraq prison camp

Freedom’s on the march. From Reuters, Aug. 18:

BAGHDAD — Rare footage from inside a Baghdad prison camp shows hundreds of inmates packed into wire-mesh tents, protesting their innocence.

“I have been jailed for two years and have never been put before a judge or court!” one prisoner is shown shouting.

The video pictures were given to Reuters Television on Saturday by the office of Sunni Arab Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who visited the Rusafa prison compound in eastern Baghdad with his Shi’ite counterpart.

Hashemi told the prisoners that the authorities were working to speed up their cases and he promised better treatment.

The footage showed row upon row of outdoor tents made of wire mesh and covered with white plastic sheeting, each about the size of a basketball court and housing dozens of inmates.

“We are not asking for food or water. Just free us. We have committed no crimes,” said one inmate.

Prisoners, some stripped to their waists, pressed up against the mesh walls and shouted their innocence. Some chanted Saddam-era Iraqi nationalist slogans.

Hashemi said: “We will not accept this injustice. It is a shame on all of us. Be patient. All of your cases will be heard.”

At one point he added: “You are lucky to be here. At least you have security. Those outside do not even have security.”

U.S. forces and Iraq’s own security forces have imprisoned tens of thousands of detainees without charge in the four years since the fall of President Saddam Hussein.

See our last post on Iraq.