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Archive for Saturday, March 26, 2005

Papers suggest detainee abuse

March 26, 2005

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— Guards and military intelligence personnel allegedly tortured detainees at a U.S. Army holding facility in northern Iraq in late 2003, according to Army criminal investigative documents released Friday. The treatment, intended to soften up detainees for interrogations, involved hours-long physical exercise sessions, hoods and beatings at the same time guards at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad were carrying out similar tactics.

Army officials on Friday also released the first full accounting of 16 closed detainee homicide investigations and eight open cases from Afghanistan and Iraq, a list showing that half of the cases -- 12 -- occurred in U.S. detention facilities.

Chris Grey, a spokesman for the criminal investigation command, said there appeared to be no pattern in the deaths, which occurred from late 2002 to late 2004.

The Army released the documents, totaling more than 1,200 pages, in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. They highlight the difficulties U.S. troops were having with detention operations in the early stages of the Iraq war, including confusion about standard operating procedures.

In one batch of documents, soldiers with the 4th Infantry Division said they thought they were alienating Iraqi civilians with broad arrests and draconian release policies that kept innocent people behind bars for being "in the wrong place at the wrong time" -- a practice that has since been criticized as fueling the insurgency.

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