Monday, July 23, 2007

"The stench of human confinement intensified as the guard led the way to the back of the room and down a dark, flooded hallway to the bathroom, where half-naked detainees stood barefoot amid muddy puddles, broken floor tiles and stopped-up urinals. A shower and sink were filled with human waste. The guard dropped his cigarette butt in a puddle as detainees relieved themselves in two holes and rinsed off under a broken water pipe. Things had improved since the morning, the detainees said. The water was flowing. This facility, the National Police detention center in northwest Baghdad, was intended to house up to 300 inmates when it opened two years ago. Nearly 900 are now crammed inside — an unwieldy mix of suspected insurgents, alleged criminals and apparent innocents."