Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse

2004 American military scandal during the Iraq War / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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During the early stages of the Iraq War, members of the United States Army and the CIA committed a series of human rights violations and war crimes against detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, including physical and sexual abuse, torture, rape and the killing of Manadel al-Jamadi.[3][4][5][6] The abuses came to public attention with the publication of photographs of the abuse by CBS News in April 2004. The incidents caused shock and outrage, receiving widespread condemnation within the United States and internationally.[7]

This image of a prisoner (Abdou Hussain Saad Faleh) being tortured has become internationally infamous, eventually making it onto the cover of The Economist (see "Media coverage" below)[1][2]

The George W. Bush administration claimed that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were isolated incidents and not indicative of U.S. policy.[8][9]:328 This was disputed by humanitarian organizations including the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch; these organizations stated that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were part of a wider pattern of torture and brutal treatment at American overseas detention centers, including those in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo Bay.[9]:328

Documents popularly known as the Torture Memos came to light a few years later. These documents, prepared in the months leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States Department of Justice, authorized certain "enhanced interrogation techniques" (generally held to involve torture) of foreign detainees. The memoranda also argued that international humanitarian laws, such as the Geneva Conventions, did not apply to American interrogators overseas. Several subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006), have overturned Bush administration policy, ruling that the Geneva Conventions do apply.

In response to the events at Abu Ghraib, the United States Department of Defense removed 17 soldiers and officers from duty. Eleven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery. Between May 2004 and April 2006, these soldiers were court-martialed, convicted, sentenced to military prison, and dishonorably discharged from service. Two soldiers, found to have perpetrated many of the worst offenses at the prison, Specialist Charles Graner and PFC Lynndie England, were subject to more severe charges and received harsher sentences. Graner was convicted of assault, battery, conspiracy, maltreatment of detainees, committing indecent acts and dereliction of duty; he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and loss of rank, pay and benefits.[10] England was convicted of conspiracy, maltreating detainees and committing an indecent act and sentenced to three years in prison.[11] Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the commanding officer of all detention facilities in Iraq, was reprimanded and demoted to the rank of colonel. Several more military personnel who were accused of perpetrating or authorizing the measures, including many of higher rank, were not prosecuted. In 2004, President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld apologized for the Abu Ghraib abuses.