Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 7 News List

An unmarked grave waits for victim of brutal interrogation


In the erratically refrigerated vault of Baghdad's overcrowded mortuary lies an unclaimed corpse: number E63. For the past four and a half months, the most famous victim of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, whose battered body was photographed wrapped in cellophane, has been waiting for someone to collect him. So far nobody has.

The precise circumstances of Manadel al-Jamadi's death in US custody are unknown. But leaked documents from an ongoing Pentagon investigation show Jamadi died during a CIA interrogation in the jail on November 4 last year, after being beaten up in the showers. CIA officers insisted on questioning him with a hood over his head. It was only when he slumped over dead that they took off the hood and found he had severe facial injuries.

Afterwards two US guards at the prison west of Baghdad, Charles Graner and Sabrina Harman, posed for photos with his body, grinning and doing a "thumbs up."

The Pentagon is now investigating Jamadi's death together with at least 27 other suspicious deaths in US custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

The Guardian has learned that US officials released Jamadi's body to the International Committee of the Red Cross only on Feb. 11 -- more than three months after his death. The Red Cross delivered his body to Baghdad's mortuary the same day.

The US military has not revealed details of Jamadi's arrest. But in an e-mail leaked by Sergeant Ivan "Chip" Frederick, one of seven guards at Abu Ghraib now facing charges, it appears that Jamadi was under the control of "other government agencies" when he died -- in other words, the CIA and its paramilitary employees.

Documents show that two CIA personnel and a contract translator were present when he died. It is not known who beat him in the face.

But internal US medical reports show he died from "blunt force injuries complicated by compromised respiration."

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