Saturday, September 24, 2005

Human Rights group alleges Iraq prisoner abuse

"WASHINGTON (AFP) - Troops from the army's elite 82nd Airborne Division routinely beat and mistreated Iraqi prisoners at a base near Fallujah in central Iraq with the approval of their superior officers, a New York-based human rights group said.

Human Rights Watch said three soldiers -- two sergeants and a captain who were not identified by name -- provided the accounts of abuse, which they said occurred at Forward Operating Base Mercury near Fallujah from September 2003 through April 2004.

They alleged that a sergeant broke one prisoner's leg with a metal baseball bat. Others were made to hold five-gallon (19-liter) jugs of water with their arms outstretched, according to the report.

Detainees, known as PUCs or "persons under control," were subjected to stress positions, extremes of hot and cold, sleep deprivation, denied food and water and were piled in human pyramids, the report said.

The abuse was meted out as part of military intelligence interrogations or merely to "relieve stress" of troops, the report said.

"Everyone in camp knew if you wanted to work out your frustration you show up at the PUC tent. In a way it was sport," a sergeant is quoted as saying.

"One day (a sergeant) shows up and tells a PUC to grab a pole. He told him to bend over and broke the guys leg with a mini Louisville Slugger, a metal bat," he said.

The soldiers were from the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st battalion 504th parachute regiment.

"The accounts here suggest that the mistreatment of prisoners by the US military is even more widespread than has been acknowledged to date, including among troops belonging to some of the best trained, most decorated and highly respected units in the US Army," the report said."
H/T Jason gives the other point of view, updates and links for further reading


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