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Abu Ghraib Inmates Protest Conditions

From a delighted to be able to bring up Abu Ghraib on 9/11 Reuters:

Prisoners riot at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib

Fri Sep 11

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Prisoners started a fire during a riot at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. and Iraqi officials said, resulting in some injuries at the jail that became synonymous with U.S. detainee abuse.

Namir Mohammed, a local council member in western Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib district, said the inmates set fire to mattresses on Thursday following a search of the facility for mobile phones and banned drugs or medication.

Prison officials said inmates were unhappy about conditions at the jail, which became known across the world as the site of U.S. soldiers’ abuse and humiliation of Iraqi detainees after the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Pictures of abuse at Abu Ghraib sparked indignation worldwide and helped fuel a bloody insurgency in Iraq that has only begun to fade in the past 18 months.

The prison has since been taken over by Iraqi officials and was reopened in February with a new name. Iraqi officials plan to hold only a fraction of the tens of thousands of prisoners it housed under Saddam and promise improved conditions.

Ahmed al-Khafaji, deputy interior minister, said late on Thursday the fire had been brought under control. It had caused injuries among some prison staff but not the inmates, he said.

On Friday morning, a U.S. military spokesman said inmates at Abu Ghraib had started a fire in their cell to try to overpower their guards. Three guards and three inmates were reportedly injured, he said. U.S. aircraft backed Iraqi forces in responding to the incident.

The last time we heard, the inmates at Abu Ghraib were demanding that the US guards return.

Here is an excerpt from an article we posted back in September 2006, from the UK’s Telegraph:

Tortured screams ring out as Iraqis take over Abu Ghraib

By Ali Saber in Baghdad and Gethin Chamberlain

The notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad is at the centre of fresh abuse allegations just a week after it was handed over to Iraqi authorities, with claims that inmates are being tortured by their new captors…

An independent witness who went into Abu Ghraib this week told The Sunday Telegraph that screams were coming from the cell blocks housing the terrorist suspects. Prisoners released from the jail this week spoke of routine torture of terrorism suspects and on Wednesday, 27 prisoners were hanged in the first mass execution since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Conditions in the rest of the jail were grim, with an overwhelming stench of excrement, prisoners crammed into cells for all but 20 minutes a day, food rations cut to just rice and water and no air conditioning.

Some of the small number of prisoners who remained in the jail after the Americans left said they had pleaded to go with their departing captors, rather than be left in the hands of Iraqi guards.

“The Americans were better than the Iraqis. They treated us better,” said Khalid Alaani, who was held on suspicion of involvement in Sunni terrorism.

Abu Ghraib became synonymous with abuse after shocking pictures were published in 2004 showing prisoners being tortured and humiliated, galvanising opposition to the US presence in Iraq.

The witness gained access to the prison just days after the Americans formally handed over control to the Iraqi authorities on Sept 1.

Inside the 100-yard long cell block the smell of excrement was overpowering. Four to six prisoners shared each of the 12ft by 15ft cells along either side and the walls were smeared with filth. The cell block was patrolled by guards who carried long batons and shouted angrily at the prisoners to stand up.

Access to the part of the prison containing terrorism suspects was denied, but from that block came the sound of screaming. The screaming continued for a long time.

“I am sure someone was being beaten, they were screaming like they were being hit,” the witness reported. “I felt scared, I was asking what was happening in the terrorist section.

“I heard shouting, like someone had a hot iron on their body, screams. The officer said they were just screaming by themselves. I was hearing the screams throughout the visit.”

The witness said that even in the thieves’ section prisoners were being treated badly. “ Someone was shouting ‘Please help us, we want the human rights officers, we want the Americans to come back ’,” he said.

Prisoners interviewed in the presence of their jailers said they were frightened for their safety. They complained that chicken and milk had been cut from their rations, leaving them on rice and water. They also complained about the oppressive heat.

Outside the prison, relatives of some of the inmates said they were being tortured by their captors. One woman, who gave her name as Omsaad, said: “My son Saad [who was arrested in Fallujah as a suspected insurgent] said he is being tortured by the Iraqis to confess the name of his leader. I met my son and he told me they were being treated badly by the Iraqis.”

Haleem Aleulami, who was released from the jail last week, three weeks after being arrested in Ramadi for carrying a pistol in his car, said the Americans had treated him better when they ran the jail. He claimed that visits from the International Red Cross staff had dried up and accused local human rights workers of being members of Shia groups who turned a blind eye to problems in the jail.

“The people are Iraqis and they are members of the Sciri and al Dawa parties. They have a good relationship with the leaders of the jail and they keep quiet,” he said. The guards swore at the ordinary prisoners, he said, but those in the terrorist section were treated more brutally.

“The guards were swearing at us, but in the terrorist section they were beating them. I heard it all the time. Everyone knows what is happening.”

And Khalid Alaani, who was also picked up in Ramadi suspected of involvement in Sunni terrorism, said: “ We preferred the Americans. We asked to move with them to Baghdad airport because we knew the treatment would be changed because we know what the Iraqis are. When the Americans left everything changed.”

Staff at the jail said that the prisoners were allowed out from their cells for only 15 to 20 minutes a day because of the danger from the regular mortar attacks. They are no longer allowed access to the main hall where the Americans had allowed them to watch television and the room is now reserved for the use of officers and guards. Staff explained that the air conditioning in the cell blocks had broken, although it was working in their quarters.

One officer, Capt Ali Abdelzaher, said: “We have a problem with the financing for the food, not like the Americans, and there is a technical problem with the air conditioning.”

We suspect this latest report is about more of the same or very similar.

Though of course Reuters would never mention that.

On this day least of all.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, September 11th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Abu Ghraib Inmates Protest Conditions”

  1. MinnesotaRush says:

    These sacreligous and delighted dinghies can’t bring this up just once ..

    “Prisoners started a fire during a riot at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. and Iraqi officials said, resulting in some injuries at the jail that became synonymous with U.S. detainee abuse.”

    … but then, hardly a paragraph later, we get ..

    “Prison officials said inmates were unhappy about conditions at the jail, which became known across the world as the site of U.S. soldiers’ abuse and humiliation of Iraqi detainees after the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003.”

    … just in case they maybe didn’t make their drumbeat point that America is just plain ass BAD!!!

    And you’re right, Steve! Especially on this day of September 11th.

    These vapid pretend journalists really are to be pityed. NOT EXCUSED by any means; but pityed. Afterall, they are pitiful!

    What was this ‘playhouse’ synonymous with BEFORE America got there?!?!

    Seems all kinds of torturous things come to mind, Reuters. Beheadings, rapes, gruesome health experiments, slicing off random body parts, …. gosh … I seem to recall even woodchipping people alive!!!

    How’s that for some dandy ‘party games’, you dunderheads.

    Pitiful people with no substance seem to be abundant within the MSM. No wonder they worship and voted for that other pitiful and empty suit that’s currently in the whitehouse.

    God Bless America .. God Bless us, all!!!

  2. canary says:

    Rueters keeps rehashing this article.

  3. Confucius says:

    I know how to settle this.

    Why don’t we stone the little darlings and ask “how do you like it now?” with each rock?

  4. No way that photo is legit!
    Skin too light
    Skin pefect – no scars, etc
    Notice hair cut – Salon quality\
    Wrists are not in picture: He seems to be bound but ties are not shown. Any photographer would have shown ties!

  5. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    So the U.S. guards, ‘the Great Satan’ were the lesser of two evils? And now these convicts want the infidels back rather than be under the watch of their fellow Muslims? The more I read this article the more I was convinced it was satire. But then a small voice within me said that when it comes to life fact is stranger than fiction. Now they realize all too late that they did have it better under us than their own countrymen.

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