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US Military holds 20,000 Iraqis in various prisons.

 
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 10:58 am    Post subject: US Military holds 20,000 Iraqis in various prisons. Reply with quote

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US Military holds 20,000 Iraqis in various prisons, oftentimes under terrible conditions

By Aaron Glantz
Apr 21, 2004, 12:51


BAGHDAD - Private First Class Matt Maupin assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve's 724th Transportation Company based at Bartonville, Illinois, became the first prisoner taken by Iraqi insurgents since the fall of Saddam Hussein.



The U.S. military is currently holding more than 20,000 Iraqis behind bars -- most of them taken during house to house searches by the U.S. military.



Take the village of Abu Siffa, an hour's drive north of Baghdad. Cattle graze on the side of the road and date palms sway in the wind. The mighty Tigris flows nearby.



Rejan Mohammed Hassen stands in front of the rubble that was her house and recalls the night last summer when the U.S. Army took her sons and destroyed her house.



”Early in the morning they took us from the home and asked us to stand around,” she recalls. ”When we questioned them, the Americans started to beat the women. After that, two tanks came to our house and started to shoot using the machine-gun on top of the tank and then two missiles from the head of the tank.”



By the time the U.S. Army left Abu Siffa an hour later, 73 men from the village had been rounded up, including all four of Rejan Mohammed Hassen's sons. Villagers say the U.S. troops did not find the arms caches they were looking for, but the soldiers did confiscate several trucks and large sums of cash.



Nine months later, 15-year-old Ahmed Itar Hassen is one of only two villagers to have emerged from custody. He was finally released without being charged with any offense.



”For the first six days we were all staying in an open field surrounded by razor wire,” he says. ”There was no tent and no mat under us and we were exposed to the sun and the rain.”



He says the soldiers provided no toilet facilities, leaving the men to relieve themselves in the open. ”It was impossible to sleep,” he recalls. ”The American soldiers threw pebbles at us all night long.”



Eventually, Ahmed says he was transferred to Baghdad's Abu Grahb prison. There he was held in solitary confinement -- in a 3-foot by 4-foot cell used to keep political prisoners during the reign of Saddam Hussein. He says he was not allowed outside to exercise, to see his family or a lawyer.



”At night they threw a dog in the cell to frighten me,” he says. ”We call it a wolf- dog, the big police dog. A soldier just put it in my cell every night.”



Ahmed says the dog was taken away after he complained to a Red Cross observer who came to his cell.



Human rights groups say incidents like those at Abu Siffa happen far too often during the occupation.



A report released by Amnesty International catalogues 15 confirmed incidents of house demolition and notes regular reports of torture and beatings perpetrated against prisoners in U.S. custody. The report also alleges that prisoners are subjected to sleep deprivation, hooding, and bright lights.



Sa'ad Sultan Hussein, lawyer with the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Ministry for Human Rights says the occupation force has promised to allow his agency to open an office at Abu Grahb, but so far they have only given his teams guided tours of the prisons.



”I have only seen what they wanted me to see,” he admits. ”We didn't enter the interrogation room. We were not allowed to witness any interrogations.”



Sa'ad Sultan Hussein says the occupying forces are currently holding about 15,000 prisoners at Abu Grahb, the vast majority for supposed political crimes.



http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_6720.shtml


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