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How to patrol the Sahara? The challenges facing G5 Sahel joint force

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Film show: 'Star Wars, The Last Jedi'

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THE INTERVIEW

Evo Morales: US exit from Paris accord is 'unforgivable'

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Niger's Agadez: Pearl of the Sahara turned migrant hub

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Spain's Tagus river is drying up

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MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

'Looking for Oum Kulthum': Breaking the glass ceiling in the art world

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IN THE PAPERS

'Alabama sent a message to women'

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IN THE PAPERS

French MPs learn to meditate

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REVISITED

We return to places which have been in the news - often a long time ago, sometimes recently - to see how local people are rebuilding their lives. Sunday at 9.10 pm. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2017-06-02

Exclusive: Beyond the notorious prison cells in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib

Located on the outskirts of Baghdad, Abu Ghraib prison shot to worldwide fame for all the wrong reasons after it was revealed that US security forces had systematically and brutally tortured detainees held there. FRANCE 24 was granted rare access into the now shuttered US military prison and our reporters spoke to locals who want nothing more than to put the city's grim past behind them.

In 2004, one year after the American invasion of Iraq, disturbing images of naked Iraqi prisoners piled on top of each other began to do the rounds of international media. Other detainees were depicted hooded and wired up with electrodes. All to the amusement of American soldiers. This was the beginning of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that would eventually force a red-faced Bush administration to issue a public apology for the behaviour of Iraqi-deployed US forces.

More than a decade later, the institution remains the symbol of the American invasion and the torture that took place there has frequently featured in jihadist propaganda. The prison has often been identified as the birthplace of the Islamic State group.

On July 21, 2013, long after the operation of Abu Ghraib had returned to the Iraqis, a terrorist attack of unprecedented level hit the prison, resulting in more than 500 detainees fleeing the compound. Some of the escapees are believed to have joined the al-Qaeda branch that was behind the jailbreak and which would later grow into today’s Islamic State group.

Although the Abu Ghraib prison was shut down in 2014, Baghdad authorities are now mulling reopening it. Our reporters were granted exclusive access into the notorious, but now abandoned, prison grounds. But the stigma of the past remains very much present.

Our reporters also spoke to surrounding residents, whose lives and destinies seem undeniably linked to the prison. Many of them dream of just living an ordinary life, but the history of the prison -- and the increasing terror threat -- are inhibiting factors as they try to get on with their lives.

By Fatma KIZILBOGA , Hussein ASAD

Archives

2017-12-08 Egypt

Video: Tahrir Square, a melting pot for Egyptian revolutions

Egypt’s Tahrir Square is emblematic of the Arab Spring uprising. In January 2011, thousands of Egyptians thronged onto the Cairo square to protest society-wide corruption and...

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2017-11-09 Europe

Video: Remembering France’s 'camp of shame' at Rivesaltes

For three decades, Rivesaltes in southern France was home to the largest internment camp in Western Europe. FRANCE 24 returns to the site where tens of thousands of people were...

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2017-10-26 Middle East

Video: East Jerusalem still at heart of Middle East tensions

At the end of the 1967 Six-Day War, the victorious Israeli army took control of East Jerusalem, placing both Muslim and Christian holy sites under the control of the Israeli...

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2017-10-20 Europe

Video: In St. Petersburg, legacy of Nazi siege lives on

As Russia’s cultural hub, St. Petersburg delights millions of tourists every year. Founded by Peter the Great, the city was renamed Petrograd during World War I then Leningrad...

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2017-09-28 Asia-pacific

Video: Indian city of Pondicherry proud of its French touch

Our reporters returned to the Indian city of Pondicherry, in the Gulf of Bengal, a former trading post of the French East India Company. Fifty-five years after it was handed back...

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