Iraqi security forces arrest suspected insurgents in Ba'qubah (file photo) (epa)
April 21, 2006 -- The head of the UN's Human Rights Office in Baghdad, Gianni Magazzeni, says thousands of detainees are being held illegally by government ministries.
Magazzeni said U.S.-led multinational troops in Iraq were holding some 14,000 detainees at the end of February, but Iraqi authorities were holding more than 15,000.
Under Iraqi laws, only the Justice Ministry is permitted to hold detainees for longer than 72 hours. But Magazzeni said most Iraqi-held prisoners are under the control of the Interior and Defense ministries.