Vol. 4 Num 327 Fri. April 30, 2004  
Front Page

Iraq Prisoner Abuse
US general suspended

A US general has been suspended in Iraq over the alleged abuse of prisoners by US troops in jails she ran.

Brigadier General Janis Karpinski is among seven officers being investigated following claims that soldiers under their command mistreated detainees.

The army confirmed the suspension after US television broadcast images of US soldiers allegedly abusing inmates at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

CBS TV says it has "dozens" of pictures showing a wide range of maltreatment.

Taken by US troops, many of the pictures show American troops watching in apparent approval.

The army announced last month that 17 soldiers had been suspended over the allegations of abuse of prisoners.

Six of them - military police - are facing court martial.

CBS said an army investigation had concluded that Gen Karpinski's "lack of leadership and clear standards" led to problems in Abu Ghraib and three other prisons for which she was responsible.

The army has made no formal charges against her. She is the subject of an investigation that could result in a written reprimand, AFP news agency reported.

Brig Gen Mark Kimmitt told CBS the army was "appalled" by the behaviour of its soldiers.

Gen Kimmitt, the deputy head of coalition forces in Iraq, said the suspected abusers "let their fellow soldiers down".

CBS says the pictures it obtained show a wide range of abuses, including prisoners with wires attached to their genitals, a dog attacking a prisoner, inmates being forced to simulate having sex with each other, and a detainee with an abusive word written on his body.

The prison where the abuses are alleged to have taken place was a notorious torture centre during the Saddam Hussein era.

Bob Baer, a former CIA operative with extensive Iraq experience, told CBS: "If there [was] ever a reason to get rid of Saddam Hussein, it's Abu Ghraib [prison]."