Iraq's Shiite-led government cracked down harshly on dissent during the past year of Arab Spring uprisings, turning the country into a "budding police state" as autocratic regimes crumbled elsewhere in the region, an international rights groups said Sunday.
Iraqi security forces routinely abuse protesters, harass journalists, torture detainees and intimidate activists, Human Rights Watch said in the Iraq chapter of its annual report.
"Iraq is quickly slipping back into authoritarianism," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director for the New York-based group. "Despite U.S. government assurances that it helped create a stable democracy (in Iraq), the reality is that it left behind a budding police state."
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