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'They forced us to walk like dogs'
May 21, 2004 21:49 IST
Graphic accounts by prisoners at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison detail abuse and add allegations of prisoners being ridden like animals, sexually fondled by female soldiers and forced to retrieve their food from toilets, says The Washington Post.
The fresh allegations are contained in statements taken from 13 detainees shortly after a soldier reported the incidents to military investigators in mid-January, the paper said. According to copies of the statements obtained by the Post, 'the detainees said they were savagely beaten and repeatedly humiliated sexually by American soldiers working on the night shift at Tier 1A in Abu Ghraib during the holy month of Ramadan.'
Some of the detainees described being abused as punishment or discipline after they were caught fighting or with a prohibited item. Others said they were pressed to denounce Islam or force-fed pork and liquor. Many were sexually humiliated and assaulted, threatened with rape, and forced to masturbate in front of female soldiers, the Post said.
"They forced us to walk like dogs on our hands and knees," the paper quoted Hiadar Sabar Abed Miktub al-Aboodi, detainee No. 13077, as saying. "And we had to bark like a dog, and if we didn't do that they started hitting us hard on our face and chest with no mercy. After that, they took us to our cells, took the mattresses out and dropped water on the floor and they made us sleep on our stomachs on the floor with the bags on our head and they took pictures of everything."
'Eight of the detainees identified by name one particular soldier at the center of the abuse investigation, Spec. Charles A. Graner Jr., a member of the 372nd Military Police Company from Cresaptown, Md. Five others described abuse at the hands of a solider who matches Graner's description,' the Post said.
Most of the detainees said in the statements that they were stripped upon their arrival to Tier 1A, forced to wear women's underwear, and repeatedly humiliated in front of one another and American soldiers. They also described beatings and threats of death and sexual assault if they did not cooperate with US interrogators, the Post said.
"They said we will make you wish to die and it will not happen," it quoted Ameen Saeed Al-Sheik, detainee No. 151362 as saying. "They stripped me naked. One of them told me he would rape me. He drew a picture of a woman to my back and makes me stand in shameful position holding my buttocks."
Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, detainee No. 151108, told investigators that he saw an US Army translator having sex with a boy at the prison.
The Pentagon is investigating the allegations, a spokesman said last night.
"There are a number of lines of inquiry that are being taken with respect to allegations of abuse of detainees in U.S. custody," Bryan Whitman said. "There is still more to know and to be learned and new things to be discovered."