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[casi] Details of "harsh treatment"



Iraqi details harsh treatment as Amnesty criticizes U.S. interrogation
methods


http://tinyurl.com/fqyc  Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 30  An Iraqi businessman detained during a raid on his
home says U.S. interrogators deprived him of sleep, forced him to kneel
naked and kept him bound hand and foot with a bag over his head for eight
days.
Khraisan al-Abally's story, told to an Associated Press correspondent, comes
as an Amnesty International report released Monday harshly criticizes
American interrogation techniques.

A U.S. Army officer confirmed receiving a complaint from al-Abally, but
coalition officials declined to discuss his account. The activist group
Human Rights Watch said it was trying to corroborate his story.

Seeking to quell a burgeoning uprising, U.S. soldiers have detained hundreds
of Iraqis  some of whom have endured days of strenuous interrogations,
rights groups say. AP journalists have observed prisoners wearing only
underwear and blindfolds, handcuffed and lying in the dirt 24 hours after
their capture.

Interviewed June 20 and Monday, Al-Abally said U.S. troops stormed his home
April 30, shooting his brother and taking al-Abally and his 80-year-old
father into custody  apparently believing they had information on the
whereabouts of a top official in Saddam Hussein's regime, Izzat Ibrahim
al-Douri.

The three men were all low-level members of Saddam's Baath Party, but
al-Douri was not a family acquaintance, Al-Abally said.
The brother, Dureid, shot at the troops breaking in, apparently mistaking
them for looters, the family said. Al-Abally said he was told during his
interrogation at Baghdad International Airport that his brother had died.

Al-Abally, 39, said that while he was bound and blindfolded, he was kicked,
forced to stare at a strobe light and blasted with ''very loud rubbish
music.''

"I thought I was going to lose my mind,'' said al-Abally, a burly man whose
wrists are still scarred from plastic cuffs more than a month after his
release. ''They said, 'I want you on your knees.' After three or four days
it's very painful. My knees were bleeding and swollen.''


The U.S. military said it could not comment on the raid or its methods of
interrogation, saying only that its soldiers adhere to the rule of law.
Military and intelligence officials have said sleep deprivation, shackling
prisoners in uncomfortable positions and noise abuse are considered legal
methods.
'This is democracy?'' asked al-Abally, whose family operates a shipping
business in Lebanon. ''No Iraqi would have thought the Americans were
capable of this.''

The AP interviews with al-Abally were conducted mostly in English.
His interrogation came before a June 26 pledge by the Bush administration
that U.S. officials would not use cruel treatment to gain information from
detainees.

Several human rights groups  including London-based Amnesty International
and New York-based Human Rights Watch  argue that current U.S.
interrogation methods violate the pledge.
''When you talk of up to eight days' sleep deprivation, especially with
hands and feet bound, that's already entering the realm of ill treatment,''
said Johanna Bjorken, a Human Rights Watch researcher in Iraq. ''When you
combine it with loud music, strobe lights and hooding, it's very possible
you've inflicted cruel treatment, which is a violation of the Geneva
Conventions.''
She said her group is investigating al-Abally's allegations to see if the
interrogation techniques he described can be corroborated.

A U.S. Army officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said U.S.
interrogators routinely used strobe lights. Bjorken said a U.S. military
criminal investigator in Baghdad told her that loud music and sleep
deprivation were acceptable interrogation techniques.
Amnesty International's report said the U.S. military appeared to subject
Iraqi detainees to treatment that violates international law. The group said
it was investigating the U.S. military's three-week detention of an
11-year-old boy and an incident in which U.S. shooting during a riot by
detainees killed one and wounded seven.

A British spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, Lt. Col. Peregrine Lewis,
denied the coalition violates human rights.
''Coalition soldiers are expected to scrupulously adhere to the rule of law
in the conduct of military operations,'' Lewis wrote in e-mail response to
AP questions. ''Anything which suggests otherwise is inaccurate.''


U.S. Army Maj. Toney Coleman of the 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion said he
took a written complaint in May from al-Abally about his treatment and his
brother's disappearance. Coleman said he has no knowledge of U.S.
interrogation techniques or whether al-Abally's allegations are accurate.
       Coleman said he searched military computers for the whereabouts of
al-Abally's missing brother, Dureid, a 48-year-old retired diplomat.
       ''There's no record at all of that individual,'' Coleman said.


Amnesty International researchers in Baghdad said the techniques cited by
al-Abally were similar to those described by Palestinian detainees
interrogated by the Israeli military and Irish Catholic prisoners detained
by British forces.
''These are known techniques that there have been a lot of debate on for the
past 20 years, as to whether they constitute torture,'' said Elizabeth
Hodgkin, Amnesty's Baghdad-based research director.

Britain halted such procedures after a European court in 1982 found they
violated human rights law and Israel did so in 1999 when its supreme court
banned the practice except in extreme situations, Hodgkin said.

Amnesty's report accuses U.S. forces in Afghanistan of performing similar
''stress and duress'' interrogations on detainees, a pair of whom died in
U.S. custody. The deaths are being investigated as homicides.




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