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In a bi-monthly human rights report, released on a day when 14 more victims of "extrajudicial executions" were found near Baghdad, the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq also said "mass arrests" by U.S. and Iraqi forces, and long detentions without charge, could damage support for the new political system.
"Corpses appear regularly in and around Baghdad and other areas. Most bear signs of torture and appear to be victims of extrajudicial executions," it said, noting incidents reported after arrests by "forces linked to the Ministry of Interior".
The Shi'ite-led government has denied accusations from the once dominant Sunni Arab minority that it tolerates sectarian death squads among police forces. It has admitted that abuses do occur but has vowed to crack down. Sunni insurgents are also accused of mass killings of civilians and security personnel.
The U.N. body said it had raised such issues with the Iraqi government, which insists that Iraq has put repression behind it, and expected it to publish reports on its investigations.
The United Nations repeated its condemnation of Iraq's revival of the death penalty; it hanged three criminals last week and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said this week that his predecessor, Saddam, should be "hanged 20 times a day".