Second Iraqi identifies himself in prison abuse photographs

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The Independent Online

Saddam Saleh, an Iraqi who says he was one of the naked prisoners shown in the photographs of abuse inside Abu Ghraib jail, has accused American soldiers of torturing him for 18 days.

Saddam Saleh, an Iraqi who says he was one of the naked prisoners shown in the photographs of abuse inside Abu Ghraib jail, has accused American soldiers of torturing him for 18 days.

He said he saw several senior figures connected with the Saddam Hussein regime being held in the now notorious area of Abu Ghraib shown in the pictures, including Saddam's nephew and the owner of the house where the former dictator was hiding when he was captured last year.

Mr Saleh is the second Iraqi to come forward and identify himself as one of those in the Abu Ghraib photographs. He says that he is one of the naked Iraqis shown standing in a row, while Private Lynndie England points at their genitals and grins, the third from the right.

He says he knows that he is the man in the photograph despite the fact he was wearing a hood because American soldiers brought the picture to him in his cell and pointed his own naked body out to him, apparently to humiliate him further. That would back up Private England's claim that she had been ordered to pose for the photo so it could be used to weaken prisoners for interrogation.

He recalls being ordered to stand in a line and hearing the click of the camera, but said that he did not know until he was shown the photograph that a woman soldiers was posing in front of the line of prisoners.

He alleges that he was held completely naked for 18 days, and that American soldiers beat him, tortured him with an electric shock baton, set dogs on him, and at one point urinated on him.

It is impossible to confirm Mr Saleh's allegations, and some Iraqis who have claimed they suffered abuse in US-run prisons since the Abu Ghraib pictures emerged have been accused of lying. Mr Saleh has US prisoner release papers which give his prisoner number as 200144, and the dates he was held as 1 December, 2003, to 28 March this year. The document is signed by Lieutenant-Colonel Craig A Essick.

Mr Saleh says he wants to be allowed to give evidence at the first court martial of a soldier for mistreating prisoners, scheduled for Baghdad next week.

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