Wed, May 18, 2005 - Page 7 News List

Abu Ghraib whistleblower wins JFK courage award


The US Army soldier who blew the whistle on abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq received a special John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, an award that recognizes acts of political courage.

Specialist Joseph Darby was the first to report abuse at the Iraqi prison, turning over photos that showed prisoners chained together in sexual poses, piled on the floor naked and forced to form a nude human pyramid.

Other award recipients Monday included Atlanta's first black woman mayor, Shirley Franklin. She was recognized for showing "courageous leadership" by raising taxes and cutting the city's payroll when she took office facing an US$82 million budget deficit, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation said.

Former Texas state Senator Bill Ratliff, a former acting lieutenant governor, was honored for being the only Republican lawmaker who publicly objected to his party's 2003 redistricting plan, which critics called divisive and overly partisan.

Winners were announced in March.

President Viktor Yushchenko of the Ukraine, leader of the movement that forced out his country's pro-Russian government last year, received his award during a visit to the US in April.

The award, which was created in 1989, has often gone to unsung heroes, Caroline Kennedy, President John F. Kennedy's daughter, said Monday.

"Often the people who receive this award don't really think they've done anything remarkable, and don't really think that what they did was courageous -- they're just doing a job as they see it," Kennedy said.

That's one of the things that makes them remarkable," said Kennedy, who serves as president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

The award is named after Kennedy's 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

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