Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding US Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Protest turns deadly as Palestinians rally against Gaza offensive

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

Americas

Pentagon to release prisoner abuse photos

Latest update : 2009-04-24

The Pentagon is preparing to release 'hundreds' of images showing prisoners in Iraqi and Afghan prisons being abused by US personnel during the Bush administration, in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

AFP - The Pentagon will soon release "hundreds" of photographs showing alleged abuse by US personnel at prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush administration, a US official said Friday.
   
"I think it will be in the hundreds," said the Pentagon official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, referring to the number of photos to be released for the first time.
   
The Defense Department confirmed the Pentagon had agreed to release a "substantial" number of photographs by May 28 in response to a long-running Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the New York-based rights group, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
   
The photographs come from more than 60 criminal investigations from 2001-2006 of military personnel suspected of abusing detainees, the defense official said.
   
But the Pentagon rejected the portrayal of the photos by the ACLU as showing widespread abuse of detainees.
   
"What this demonstrates is that we have always been serious about investigating credible allegations of abuse," spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.
   
He said the Pentagon's policy had always required "humane treatment" of detainees and those who had violated that policy had been investigated and disciplined.
   
As a result of Pentagon investigations of detainee abuse, more than 400 individuals were disciplined, ranging from prison sentences to demotions and letters of reprimand, he said.
   
Rights groups say senior officials under former president George W. Bush's administration who were allegedly responsible for promoting harsh interrogation tactics have not been held accountable.
   
ACLU staff attorney Amrit Singh said on Thursday "these photographs provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by US personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib."
   
The Iraqi prison became infamous after photographs showing Iraqi detainees being humiliated and abused by their US guards were published in 2004.
   
In addition to at least 44 photos cited in the court case, a "substantial number of other images" were also being processed for release, the Department of Justice wrote in a letter to a US federal court.
   
Whitman suggested that the decision to release the photos was partly driven by the state of the lawsuit, in which the government's arguments against releasing the images had mostly failed to sway federal judges.
   
"This was a mature legal proceeding," Whitman said. "It had run its course for a good bit of time."
   
The former Bush administration had refused to release the images to the public, arguing that the disclosure would fuel outrage and violate US obligations toward detainees under the Geneva Conventions.
   
The Obama administration released four sensitive memos last week that blew the lid on harsh CIA terror interrogations approved by the previous government, including the use of insects, simulated drowning and sleep deprivation.
   
But Obama has said that CIA officers involved in interrogations should not be prosecuted as they were acting on orders and legal advice.
   
Obama has faced criticism from both ends of the political spectrum over the issue, with rights groups demanding prompt prosecution of former Bush administration officials and conservatives charging the move had endangered national security.
 

Date created : 2009-04-24

COMMENT(S)