List all torture incidents | List deaths | List by technique | List by location
Public support | Government policy | Accountability & cover-ups | Rendition | FoIA docs | NGO reports & legal actn
Consequences & blowback | The New Iraq & other broken promises | The media | The noble few

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Document: Red Cross inspects and warns of abuse at Abu Ghraib

This month, a confidential Red Cross document assessing the condition of detainees held in US custody in Iraq is presented to the authorities.

The report "concluded that abuse of prisoners in Iraq in custody of U.S. military intelligence was widespread and in some cases 'tantamount to torture'", and "suggested the use of ill-treatment against persons deprived of their liberty went beyond exceptional cases and might be considered a practise tolerated by" coalition forces". In particular, it states:

  • prisoners were kept naked in empty cells at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison
  • prisoners were beaten by coalition forces; slapped, punched, kicked in the head and groin
  • in at least one case, a prisoner was beaten so severely that it lead to death (interestingly, his death certificate lists the cause of death as "unknown")
  • that coalition forces fired on unarmed prisoners multiple times from watchtowers, killing some of them
  • that prisoners were urinated on
In short, the report observes that coalition forces committed "serious violations" of the Geneva Conventions governing treatment of prisoners of war. The report further observes that this ill-treatment of persons arrested with suspected security offences or deemed to have intelligence value is systematic.

In seven month's time, after the Abu Ghraib photographs are made public, this document will be leaked to the press and The Wall Street Journal will report on it (archived on The Daily Kos). At that time, the ICRC will claim that this is not the first time that the concerns in the report had been raised with US authorities.

During the Abu Ghraib photographs scandal, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will tell reporters that the first time he heard of allegations of guards sexually humiliating and abusing detainees was in early January, which is three months from this date.


Post a Comment

<< Home