Mon, Dec 27, 2004 - Page 7 News List

More prisoner abuse claims surface

AFP , WASHINGTON

At least 10 current and former detainees at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have complained of abuse at the hands of their American handlers, The Washington Post reported on its Web site late Saturday.

The newspaper said that in public statements after their release and in documents filed with federal courts, the detainees have said they were beaten before and during interrogations, shackled to the floor and otherwise mistreated as part of the effort to get them to confess to being members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

Even some of the detainees' attorneys acknowledged that they were initially skeptical, mainly because there has been little evidence that captors at Guantanamo Bay engaged in the kind of abuse discovered at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, The Post said.

But last Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union released FBI memos obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, in which agents described witnessing or learning of serious mistreatment of detainees.

The paper quotes Brent Mickum, a Washington attorney for one of the detainees, as saying that "now there's no question these guys have been tortured."

Pentagon officials and lawyers say the military has been careful not to abuse detainees and has complied with treaties on the handling of enemy prisoners "to the extent possible" in the middle of a war, The Post reported.

The detainees who made public claims of torture say military personnel beat and kicked them while they had hoods on their heads and tight shackles on their legs.

They also left them in freezing temperatures and stifling heat, subjected them to repeated, prolonged rectal exams and paraded them naked around the prison as military police snapped pictures, the paper said.

A group of released British detainees claim that several young prisoners told them they were raped and sexually violated after guards took them to isolated sections of the prison, according to the report.

They said an Algerian man was forced to watch a video supposedly showing two detainees dressed in orange, one sodomizing the other, and was told that it would happen to him if he didn't cooperate, The Post said.

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