According to Pentagon officials on Tuesday, Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison will be closed for good by the US-selected interim administration in July, by which time US Lt General Ricardo Sanchez is expected to no longer be in Iraq.
Both the prison and Sanchez have been linked to a series of abuse scandals that shocked the world.
A Red Cross (ICRC) report had shown that US troops were keeping Iraqi prisoners naked and in darkness for days at Abu Ghraib throughout the general’s 13-month command in the occupied country.
General Ricardo Sanchez has led
With special access to war zone prisons under international treaties, the ICRC’s May report said mistreatment of prisoners “went beyond exceptional cases and might be considered as a practice tolerated by the coalition forces”.
But despite claims that it was only a few rogue jailers involved in abuse, some allege that the US top military official knew what was happening.
Although the US military has denied a report that Sanchez witnessed some abuse, a military police commander is to testify that the general most certainly did.
Last Saturday, The Washington Post quoted a military lawyer as saying Captain Donald Reese knew Sanchez and other senior military officers were aware of practices the Red Cross described as equal to torture.
The military lawyer, Capt Robert Shuck, is assigned to defend Staff Sgt Ivan “Chip” Frederick of the Army Reserve’s 372nd Military Police Company.
Frederick is one of the seven members of the company facing criminal charges for abusing Iraqi inmates. Reese is the company commander.
However, the military insists Sanchez is to be replaced because he has already served 13 months in Iraq.