Washington The Bush administration suggested Tuesday that prisons in Iraq where hundreds of detainees apparently were abused were only "nominally" under the control of the central government in Baghdad.
While the central government, with U.S. help, is trying to take charge of these prisons the Interior ministry, which runs them may have its own way of doing things, said State Department spokesman Adam Ereli.
"The problem has clearly not been solved, and the problem is widespread," Ereli said.
"We and the Iraqi government continue to have concern about the way prisoners are treated in Iraqi facilities and in facilities nominally under the control of the Iraqi government," the spokesman said.
"And the United States, for its part, is going to do everything it can to ensure that the rights of Iraqi citizens are respected," Ereli added.
The statement acknowledged weakness in the Iraqi government, but also credited it with trying to address a problem that undercuts the administration's case that reform is taking hold since the toppling of President Saddam Hussein.
"We are working with the Iraqi government to provide advice and technical assistance," the U.S. spokesman said.