Sunday, January 29, 2006

U.S. Army detained suspects' daughters, wives as leverage

"BAGHDAD, Iraq — The U.S. Army has been detaining Iraqi women to help track down husbands or fathers who are suspected terrorists, according to documents released Friday and an interview with a female detainee who was released Thursday after four months in prison.

A series of e-mails written by U.S. soldiers and an internal Army memo, all released Friday in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, describe two cases of women who were imprisoned because American officials wanted information about their husbands.

The Iraqi woman said Friday that she and eight other female detainees in her cell had talked often among themselves. She discovered that all were being held because U.S. officials had suspected their male relatives of having ties to terrorism. In some cases, men in their families were killed during U.S. raids, the woman alleged.

The woman, whose voice trembled as she told her story, said she did not want to be named because she feared that she or a member of her family would be arrested...

...The U.S. detention of female prisoners is a sensitive issue for the Iraqi populace, which considers the mistreatment of a woman a dishonor to her family. Iraqis find it particularly offensive that foreign male officers are holding female prisoners, as many Iraqis fear that U.S. soldiers will treat them disrespectfully...

...In an e-mail dated June 17, 2004, a U.S. soldier wrote: "What are you guys doing to try to get the husband — have you tacked a note on the door and challenged him to come get his wife?"

A soldier wrote two days later that he was getting more information from "these gals" that could "result in getting husband.""


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