In Bush’s ‘new’ Iraq, prisons worse than ever


This video from CNN in the USA, with Seymour Hersh interviewed, is called Abu Ghraib covered up, Congress misled by Rumsfeld.

By James Cogan:

Thousands held in horrific conditions in Iraqi prisons

The Los Angeles Times on July 21 revealed some of the abuses taking place inside US-monitored, Iraqi government prisons. The article documented the plight of prisoners in a Baghdad facility, which has the Orwellian name of Forward Operating Base Justice.

The prison in the suburb of Kadhimiyah was intended to house just 300 detainees, but is currently holding close to 900. Journalists touring the facility saw as many as 500 men being held in a single hall. No attempt was being made to separate prisoners according to their alleged crime or age. Some were as young as 15. To sleep, prisoners were provided with only foam mattresses or cardboard boxes. The urinals and toilets were blocked. Prisoners were forced to defecate in a solitary shower and basin, and attempt to wash themselves under a broken water pipe.

According to US military policeman Colonel Daniel Britt, these conditions were “appalling,” but conformed to “international standards”. American personnel, who visit the prison nearly every day to advise the Iraqi jailors, turn a blind eye to systematic human right violations. An Iraqi police official told the Los Angeles Times that most of the prisoners were held for at least two months before being brought before a judge and formally charged. Under Iraqi law, they must appear before a judge with[in] 72 hours.

British army prisoner abuse in Iraq: here.

3 thoughts on “In Bush’s ‘new’ Iraq, prisons worse than ever

  1. Images show pleading Iraq prisoners
    Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:17pm ET

    By Waleed Ibrahim and Peter Graff

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Rare footage from inside a Baghdad prison camp shows hundreds of inmates packed into wire-mesh tents, protesting their innocence.

    “I have been jailed for two years and have never been put before a judge or court!” one prisoner is shown shouting.

    The video pictures were given to Reuters Television on Saturday by the office of Sunni Arab Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who visited the Rusafa prison compound in eastern Baghdad with his Shi’ite counterpart.

    Hashemi told the prisoners that the authorities were working to speed up their cases and he promised better treatment.

    The footage showed row upon row of outdoor tents made of wire mesh and covered with white plastic sheeting, each about the size of a basketball court and housing dozens of inmates.

    “We are not asking for food or water. Just free us. We have committed no crimes,” said one inmate.

    Prisoners, some stripped to their waists, pressed up against the mesh walls and shouted their innocence. Some chanted Saddam-era Iraqi nationalist slogans.

    Hashemi said: “We will not accept this injustice. It is a shame on all of us. Be patient. All of your cases will be heard.”

    At one point he added: “You are lucky to be here. At least you have security. Those outside do not even have security.”

    U.S. forces and Iraq’s own security forces have imprisoned tens of thousands of detainees without charge in the four years since the fall of President Saddam Hussein.

    EMOTIONAL ISSUE

    Many of the prisoners held by both U.S. and Iraqi authorities are Sunni Arabs accused of participating in the insurgency against the Shi’ite-led government, and their treatment is an emotional issue for the Sunni Arab community.

    The treatment of prisoners has been especially resonant in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004, when pictures showed U.S. troops sexually humiliating detainees. Washington says such abuse has stopped and those responsible were punished.

    The director of the prison visited by Hashemi, Major-General Jumah Hussein, told Reuters by telephone the tented camp was opened a month ago to relieve overcrowding at prisons throughout Iraq, and the complex now held 2,779 prisoners.

    He said the tents were built “according to international standards”, with air conditioning and 24-hour electricity.

    “The prisoners arrived just a month ago. It is not our fault that some have been held for a year or two years without their cases going before a judge. We are drawing up lists of all the prisoners and will put all their cases before a court,” he said.

    The U.S. military says it is now holding 23,000 Iraqis, 19,000 of them at Camp Bucca, a giant prison camp in southern Iraq. Washington says its own prisoners are covered by U.N. Security Council resolutions which allow its forces to hold them without charge as long as they are deemed a threat.

    Although U.S. forces are not responsible for prisoners held by Iraqi authorities, “we encourage them to treat their prisoners with as much respect as is seen in the West,” said U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver.

    The Shi’ite-run Interior Ministry was criticised over the treatment of detainees in 2005 after U.S. forces said they discovered secret cells in which detainees had been tortured.

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  2. Pingback: Red Cross confirms Bush administration, CIA tortures | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Michael Ignatieff says I was wrong to support the Iraq war | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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