Rights group claims 82nd Airborne systematically abused Iraqi prisoners

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] claimed in a report [text] issued Friday that members of the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division [official website] systematically tortured Iraqi prisoners in 2003 and 2004 at a military base near Fallujah. A captain and two sergeantsts, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in the report that detainees were deprived of sleep, food and water, subjected to extreme heat and cold, stacked in human pyramids, kicked in the face, hit by baseball bats and doused with chemicals. The soldiers said the abuse came almost daily under orders to "smoke" or physically abuse detainees until they lost consciousness and that anything less than death was acceptable. US Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. John Skinner said the military has investigated all allegations of abuse, but the captain quoted in the HRW report said his complaints were ignored and after returning to the US he was denied permission to leave Fort Bragg[base website] to meet with Senate staff members. Human Rights Watch has called [report recommendations] for US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to appoint special counsel to investigate officials accused of war crimes, a congressional commission to investigate detainee abuse, legislation which prohibits abusive interrogation, and a DOD investigation of all levels of the chain of command. AP has more.



 

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