Iraqis arrested by United States-led forces have been vanishing into a "black hole", British Prime Minister Tony Blair's human rights envoy told a Sunday newspaper.
Had the United States taken this problem seriously from the beginning, it may have helped prevent the abuse of prisoners in Iraq, Ann Clwyd, a Member of Parliament for the governing Labour Party, told The Observer newspaper in a rare interview about her work.
Clwyd, who reports directly to Blair, expressed concern about the "tremendous effort" required to trace detainees.
"You did feel that people were disappearing into black holes and it's very difficult," she said.
The human rights envoy suspected the reason for this problem was incompetence rather than malice.
US officials wrote down names "sometimes in Arabic, sometimes not, sometimes in bad Arabic", which rendered any attempt to trace prisoners much harder.