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Sunday, July 23, 2006

U.S. Encouraged Detainee Abuse

National Newswire
B. Thomas Cooper

U.S. military commanders encouraged abuse of detainees in Iraq, according to a report released Sunday by Human Rights Watch, even after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal erupted in 2004.

According to the report, prisoners were routinely mistreated, deprived of sleep and exposed to extreme temperatures as part of the interrogation process.

"Soldiers were told the Geneva Conventions did not apply, and that interrogators could use abusive techniques to get detainees to talk," stated John Sifton, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch.

The report describes prisoners being stripped naked, thrown in the mud, sprayed with water and then exposed to frigid temperatures during hours of interrogation.

The Bush administration had long claimed certain enemies, including terrorists, were illegal combatants and not protected by Geneva Conventions rules. The conventions prohibit "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment."

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that in fact, the Geneva Conventions should apply to the conflict with al-Qaida, and any captured combatants being detained.

National Newswire 2006

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