London, Nov. 19 – Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr is running six other torture chambers similar to the notorious detention centre discovered north of Baghdad earlier this week, a senior Interior Ministry official who stepped down from his positition said on Saturday.
Many opponents of the Iraqi government have been systematically arrested and taken to the detention centres where they are subjected to torture and in many cases their dead bodies are later discovered abandoned in the open, Brigadier General Montazer Samera’ee, the former Inspector of the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s Special Forces told the al-Arabiya satellite news channel, adding that senior officers in the ministry knew of the centres.
Samera’ee said that members of the 9th Badr Brigade, the military wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), were involved in the running of the illegal centres under the cover of Interior Ministry personnel.
He said that the Interior Minister Jabr – himself a high-ranking SCIRI official – personally oversees the project and no operation is carried out by the special security task force without his personal approval.
The new revelations come as the Iraqi minister has come under increasing condemnation by Iraqi dailies for his defence of neighbouring Iran in the affair.
SCIRI’s ties to Iran date back to 1982, when it was founded in Tehran on the orders of then-Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Currently Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was tasked with writing the council’s manifesto and the group’s primary goal was to spread Iran’s Islamic revolution to Iraq.
According to Samera’ee, the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s special security task force, which receives its orders from Jabr, frequently detains and interrogates Iraqis opposed to the present government without obtaining a warrant from the country’s judiciary.
He identified Ahmad Salman as the chief interrogator in the Interior Ministry task force, adding that Salman was a Colonel in the special branch of Iran’s notorious Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).
The latest revelations against the Iraqi Interior Minister come as another high-ranking Iraqi official is facing charges of collusion with Tehran.
Iraqi activists have told Iran Focus that Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowafaq al-Rubai has been attempting to white-wash evidence of Iranian meddling in Iraq.
Al-Rubai, speaking during a visit to Tehran this week, announced “There is no evidence to prove that Iran is meddling in Iraq’s interior affairs”.
Iraqi, American, and British officials in Iraq have repeatedly accused Tehran of backing insurgent groups and dispatching undercover military or intelligence agents to Iraq disguised as pilgrims.