US investigating abuse of Iraqi prisoners

The United States military has announced that it is pursuing a widening criminal investigation into allegations that its own soldiers committed acts of abuse, humiliation and torture against Iraqi prisoners, as photographs of the purported incidents were aired for the first time on US network television.

CBS broadcast pictures said to have been taken last November and December inside the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad where Allied forces were holding hundreds of prisoners captured after the invasion of Iraq. One showed Iraqis naked - except for hoods - stacked into a human pyramid.

In March, US officials revealed that six soldiers faced courts martial for possible violations of the rights of Iraqi prisoners they had been guarding. But, at the time, they offered few details. Following the airing of the photographs, they now admit that the affair has become even more far-reaching.

In addition to the criminal charges against the six - all military police belonging to the 800th Brigade - investigators have recommended disciplinary action against seven US officers who helped run the prison, including Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the commander of the 800th Brigade. She and seven other officers implicated in the case face being relieved of their commands.

The revelations are acutely embarrassing for Washington, which has emphasised repeatedly its record of liberating the Iraqi people from the inhumane repression of Saddam Hussein.

The pictures from inside the prison graphically show some of the alleged incidents.

One picture depicts an Iraqi soldier standing on a box with wires attached to his hands. He was reportedly left on the box for a long period and told that he faced electrocution if he fell off. Another shows prisoners kneeling on each other, naked except for hoods covering their heads, to form a human pyramid. Another shows naked prisoners being forced to pretend to have sex with one another.

Many of the photographs show the American guards smiling and flashing thumbs-up signs. A slur in English is scrawled on one prisoner's skin.

The investigation began when a US soldier from the prison reported the abuse and turned over the photographs, which also found their way to CBS.

One of the six, Sergeant Chip Frederick, who plans to plead innocent, asserted on CBS that he and his colleagues had had no proper guidance from commanders on how to treat the prisoners. Nor, he said, had they been given access to provisions of the Geneva Convention on the proper treatment of prisoners.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading and innovative con...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue