Could the abuse of prisoners in Iraq have gone beyond the beatings and sexual humiliation already alleged? Unreleased, classified parts of the report on prison abuse from Major General Anthony Taguba contain indications of mistreatment of female prisoners.
In a Feb. 21 statement to Taguba, Lieut. Colonel Steven L. Jordan, former head of the Abu Ghraib interrogation center, said he had received reports "that there were members of the MI (Military Intelligence) community that had come over and done a late-night interrogation of two female detainees" last October.
According to a statement by Jordan's boss, Colonel Thomas Pappas, three interrogators were later cited for violations of military law in their handling of the two females, ages 17 and 18. Senate Armed Services Committee investigators are probing whether the two women were sexually abused. The Pentagon declined to comment.
Meanwhile, a class action filed in California on behalf of former detainees raises the specter of brutal physical abuse.
One plaintiff, identified only as Neisef, claims that after he was taken from his home on the outskirts of Baghdad last November and sent to Abu Ghraib, Americans made him disrobe and attached electrical wires to his genitals. He claims he was shocked three times.
Although a vein in his penis ruptured and he had blood in his urine, he says, he was refused medical attention. In another session, Neisef claims, he was held down by two men while a uniformed woman forced him to have sex with her. "I was crying," said Neisef, 28. "I felt like my whole manhood was gone." The class action also claims that detainees were raped in prison. On June 6, Neisef was released, after a US civilian told him, he says, that he had been wrongly accused by informants.
A US military spokesman in Baghdad confirms that a prisoner with Neisef's ID number was released on that date. But the Pentagon would not comment on the specifics of Neisef's account.
(China Daily via agencies, June 21, 2004)