27 November 2005 -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani today criticized former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi for suggesting that human rights abuses in Iraq are as bad now as they were under the ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.
Talabani called the comments "nonsense" and said Iraq now enjoys "all kinds of democratic rights."
Talabani said Saddam Hussein's Iraq had been a concentration camp and the present situation was in no way comparable.
He was speaking on BBC television, after Allawi's comments appeared in "The Observer" earlier today. Allawi charged that many Iraqis are being killed in the course of interrogations.
Allawi was apparently referring to the discovery of a bunker at the Iraqi Interior Ministry where 170 men were being held prisoner, apparently beaten, half-starved, and in some cases tortured.
Allawi left office after transitional elections on 31 January that eventually ushered in the government of Ibrahim al-Ja'fari.
Many political leaders are currently jockeying for votes ahead of national elections that are scheduled for 15 December
, two months after Iraqis approved a draft constitution in a national referendum.
RFE/RL's coverage, background, and analysis of Iraq's December 15, 2005, legislative elections.