US commander 'allowed prison abuse'

A US army inquiry into the Abu Ghraib prison scandal has reportedly found that the former top commander in Iraq violated standard procedures and allowed human rights abuses to occur.

    Sanchez approved procedures violating Geneva Conventions

    Classified parts of the report on abuses at the Iraqi prison say Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez approved severe interrogation practices intended for captives in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, the New York Times reported on Friday.

     

    The report, prepared by a US army general, also says that by issuing and revising interrogation rules three times in 30 days, Sanchez and his staff created such confusion that interrogators' actions violated the Geneva Conventions, which they understood poorly to begin with, the newspaper said.

       

    The Times said it received classified parts of the 171-page report from an unnamed senior US Defence Department official.

       

    The original version of the report by Major-General George Fay and Lieutenant-General Anthony Jones was released by the Pentagon on Wednesday.

     

    Culpability

       

    It is one of two reports this week that have greatly expanded the scope of culpability in the prisoner abuse scandal. A panel headed by former defence secretary James Schlesinger issued the other report.

       

    Images showing mistreatment of
    Iraqis have shocked the world*

    According to the classified portions of the generals' report, procedures that Sanchez approved violated standard US army doctrine and the Geneva Conventions, the newspaper said.

       

    For example, an order Sanchez issued on 12 October 2003, while not authorising abuse, effectively opened the door at Abu Ghraib for interrogation techniques - used in dozens of cases involving many soldiers - that Pentagon investigators have

    characterised as abusive, the newspaper said.

       

    Among the techniques that Sanchez did not sufficiently prohibit were isolation and the use of dogs in interrogation, the newspaper said, citing the report.

       

    "At Abu Ghraib, isolation conditions sometimes included being kept naked in very hot or very cold, small rooms, and/or completely darkened rooms," the report said. 

     

    *Image courtesy of the Washington Post

    SOURCE: Reuters


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