Thu, Jul 29, 2004 - Page 7 News List

General witnessed prison abuses: suit

AP , Washington

The American general who headed the US military prison at Abu Ghraib personally witnessed abuses there, an Iraqi man alleged in a federal lawsuit protesting his treatment.

In a videotaped deposition from Iraq played on Tuesday, Saddam "Sam" Saleh Aboud said he endured beatings at the prison.

During one session, his hood was removed and he said he saw Brigadier General Janis Karpinski.

Aboud identified Karpinski from a photograph in a news magazine that his lawyer, Michael Hourigan, showed him.

"He was adamant that there was an occasion when he was being tortured, in Tier 1A, when she was present and watching and laughing as he was being tortured," Hourigan said. He said Aboud did not know Karpinski's identity until he told him.

"He knew she was a supervisor because she had a star on her hat and she was in an American uniform," Hourigan said. "He said the other soldiers would defer to her."

Neither Karpinski nor her lawyer could be reached immediately for comment.

They did not return several telephone calls and e-mail messages on Tuesday.

A Pentagon spokesman, Leutenent Colonel Joseph Yoswa, said it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the pending litigation.

Karpinski, who was suspended by the Pentagon in May, previously has denied knowing about any abuses at the prison until photographs surfaced at the end of April.

US investigators have not implicated Karpinski directly in any of the abuses.

Aboud's claims were presented as supporting evidence in a federal lawsuit filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Aboud, three other alleged victims and the family of a fifth man who died at the prison. It seeks unspecified damages.

It's at least the second such lawsuit nationwide against two military contractors, Titan Corp of San Diego and CACI International Inc of Arlington, Virginia, whose employees worked in Iraq.

Titan and CACI each denounced claims in the lawsuit that their employees participated in abuses at Abu Ghraib.

A statement from CACI described the lawsuit as a "malicious and farcical recitation of false statements and intentional distortions."

In the lawsuit itself, lawyers do not mention Karpinski.

They allege that Aboud and others were beaten, forced to stand naked and threatened with military dogs.

Aboud also alleges that he was forced to witness the rape of a female prisoner.

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