US admits 'interrogation excesses'

Top Pentagon officials have conceded that some of the interrogation techniques approved for use by the US military on Iraqi prisoners violate the Geneva Convention.

    US guards abused and humiliated Iraqi prisoners

    The grudging admission came on Thursday as US senators investigated disclosures of sexual and psychological abuse of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

    During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Democrats confronted Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and General Peter Race, the number-two official at the Pentagon, with "rules of interrogation" approved by the top commander in Iraq, Lt.Gen Ricardo Sanchez.

    Dreadful techniques

    Those methods included sleep and sensory deprivation, forcing prisoners to assume "stressful" body positions for up to 45 minutes, threatening them with guard dogs, keeping them isolated for longer than 30 days and dietary manipulation.

    Senator Jack Reed asked Pace if a foreign nation held a US Marine in a cell, naked with a bag over his head, squatting with his arms uplifted for 45 minutes, whether would that be a good interrogation technique or a Geneva Convention violation.

    "I would describe it as a violation, sir," replied Pace, vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    "As I read General Sanchez's guidance, precisely that behaviour could have been employed in Iraq," Reed pointed out.

    Reed then asked Wolfowitz a similar question. Wolfowitz initially tried to sidestep it, but eventually replied, "What you have described to me sounds, to me, like a violation of the Geneva Convention."

    US interrogation techniques have come under scrutiny amid revelations prisoners were kept naked, stacked on top of one another, forced to engage in sex acts and photographed in humiliating poses.

    Human rights activists have said the US interrogation methods clearly violated the Geneva Convention.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?