Blog of Rights

Surging Abuse?

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:46pm
American detainees stand at an all time high in Iraq after the surge.
U.S. military operations associated with the troop increase in Baghdad have boosted the number of detainees held in American facilities in Iraq to about 23,000, up 5,000 from four months ago, according to Army Col. Mark Martins, the top military lawyer in Iraq. That number represents an all-time high since the U.S. occupation began in 2003. Iraqi security forces have picked up 4,052 detainees during the increase, bringing the overall number of security detainees now held in Iraqi prisons to 60,000, said Judge Abdul Satar Bayrkdar, spokesman for the Iraqi Higher Judicial Council. About 1,100 of those picked up since the increase began were later released for lack of evidence, while the rest were transferred to the criminal court system, he said.
Now consider these revelations from the ACLU's FOIA suit into the abuses at Abu Ghraib and other locations in Iraq.
NEW YORK - Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union provide new evidence of a possible “cover-up” of Iraqi prisoner abuse by U.S. forces in 2003, and suggest that senior military officials failed to act promptly upon receiving reports of the abuse. The documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, also reveal that an Army investigator found that the conditions of prisoners held in isolation at Abu Ghraib qualified as torture. “These documents make clear that prisoners were abused in U.S. custody not only at Abu Ghraib, but also in other locations in Iraq,” said Amrit Singh, an attorney with the ACLU. “Rather than putting a stop to these abuses, senior officials appear to have turned a blind eye to them.”
Tags: Guantánamo
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