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Iraqi Prisoners claim US soldiers still committing abuse at Camp Bucca

Saturday 12 February 2005

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BAGHDAD, February 8 ( - The US occupation forces in Iraq are abusing Iraqi detainees and tearing up the Noble Qur’an, according to a message on a piece of cloth Iraqi detainees in the US-administrated Bucca detention camp in southern Iraq managed to sneak outside.

The message also presented another version of events leading up to the killing of four Iraqi detainees by US forces at the camp on the eve of January 30 controversial elections, an incident that also left six prisoners injured.

“After a short break in the prison’s court, the detainees returned to their cells in the Bucca prison to find copies of the Noble Qur’an torn to pieces,” citing the message, Abdul Salam Al-Kubaisi, spokesman of the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), told a press conference in Baghdad Monday, February 7.

The provocation led detainees to organize a peaceful demonstration, throwing stones at the US jailers, but the US soldiers opened fire at the detainees, he said, citing the words on the piece of cloth.

According to the US version, four Iraqi prisoners were killed and six others injured January 29, in clashes that erupted after a riot by detainees.

The US occupation forces claimed that acts of riots had erupted after a routine inspection operation, adding that “the clashes spread immediately” when the prisoners started to throw stones and objects.

The camp guards - only after trying to stop the clashes by warning shots and using non-deadly weapons — opened fire to end the clashes, the US forces had claimed.

New Abuses

The message, signed by some 5,200 Iraqi detainees, also revealed new abuses by US occupation forces against the Iraqi detainees in the US-administrated camp.

“The Americans are breaking the detainees’ legs, crushing their toes and putting them in cold places. They also force them to practice sex and urinate over their heads,” Al-Kubaisi said, citing the message.

The AMS spokesman denied claims of the US occupation forces that the Iraqi detainees in the Bucca camp are members of the Iraqi resistance.

“Less than 10% of detainees in the Bucca prison are members of the Iraqi resistance.”

Thousands of Iraqi detainees are held by the US occupation forces in the Bucca detention camp in the south.

Relatives of the Iraqi detainees in Bucca had organized a four-day sit-in in July 2004, near the prison in a bid to draw the world’s attention to the US abuses against detainees held in the camp under summer temperatures that can soar up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).

UN human rights officials have repeatedly raised concerns about detainees held in the US military base in Guantanamo Bay as well as abuse in the US-run Abu Ghraib Jail in Baghdad after the occupation of the oil-rich Arab country.

In June, the HRW issued a report entitled “The Road To Abu Ghraib” linking the abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo to policies adopted by US President George W. Bush in his so-called war on terror.

The Iraqi abuse scandal in Abu Ghraib exploded onto the world stage on April 29 after the CBS news network published several graphic photos of Iraqi detainees tortured and sexually abused by American soldiers at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.