Red Cross: US Systematically Abused Prisoners

Views on BG | May 9, 2004, Sunday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says the abuse it found in Iraq's US-run prisons was systematic and amounted to torture, adding it first raised concerns with the US more than a year ago.

At a quickly-arranged news conference, ICRC director of operations Pierre Kraehenbuehl, said US authorities had broken international laws and their transgressions had been documented in an ICRC report.

"The elements we found were tantamount to torture ... There were clearly incidents of degrading and inhuman treatment," he said.

"There are elements ... which refer to actions that were contrary to international humanitarian law very clearly in that report," Kraehenbuehl said.

It said Iraqis deemed to be of intelligence value to the US were at high risk of being subjected to "a variety of harsh treatments" ranging from insults, threats and humiliations to both physical and psychological coercion, "which in some cases was tantamount to torture," in order to force cooperation with their interrogators.

Iraqis confined to US-run detention centers were frequently subjected to hooding, which made their breathing difficult, and painful handcuffing, the report said.

They were paraded naked in front of other prisoners, sometimes with women's underwear over their heads, exposed to loud noise and music and handcuffed to cell bars for several hours in humiliating or uncomfortable positions.

Prisoners were also stripped naked and held in solitary confinement for days in an empty and completely dark cell that included a latrine, according to the report.
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