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Torture claims weaken Maliki

BAGHDAD — Iraqi authorities Thursday announced that an Iraq election recount demanded by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would take up to two weeks. Meanwhile, recent allegations of torture on al-Maliki's watch have given his political enemies new fodder and could further weaken his ability to head a coalition government.

A Human Rights Watch investigation, published April 27, into prisoners held illegally at a base run by a security office under al-Maliki's command found systematic torture by interrogators and incidents of rape at the undeclared facility. Human Rights Watch had conducted interviews with dozens of prisoners the previous day and concluded that they were tortured in an effort to extract confessions.

Afghan lawmaker says soldiers killed relative

KABUL, Afghanistan — A member of the Afghan parliament said U.S. soldiers raided her home and killed a relative early Thursday morning, the latest controversial allegation of civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

The confrontation at the home of lawmaker Safiya Sidiqi set off an angry protest in the Surkh Rod district of eastern Afghanistan, with residents blocking the highway to Kabul for hours and shouting "death to America."

In a statement, NATO officials said a patrol with international and Afghan troops killed "one armed individual," while chasing a Taliban facilitator in the district. They said they tried to get him to lower his gun with hand signals and commands through a translator.

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