Sunday Times Alleges Torture, Kidnapping in Basra
The Sunday Times carried a story that members of the Badr Brigade of the Shiite Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq are being used as a sort of secret police in Basra with the permission and even oversight of the British authorities there. The article says that the militiamen (who had been trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) have formed death squads that have engaged in kidnapping and torture, and that the whereabouts and condition of many of the suspects arrested remains unknown even to their close kin. Some eyewitnesses are quoted as saying that the headquarters of this secret police is festooned with posters of Ayatollah Khomeini. The story attempts to implicate in the leadership of this secret unit the British-appointed governor of Basra, Wa’il Abdul Latif.
The report seems to me likely sensationalized, but it is certainly the case that the Shiite militias have a great deal of power in Basra. Whether some of them have been recruited into a formal unit of the Basra police needs more investigation.