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Hundreds of Iraqis civilians are being held in makeshift jails run by US troops - many without being charged or even questioned. And in these prisons are children whose parents have no way of locating them. Jonathan Steele reveals the grim reality of coalition justice in Baghdad By Jonathan Steele It was a warm spring evening in a Baghdad suburb when American troops stopped the car in which 11-year-old Sufian Abd al-Ghani was riding close to his home with his uncle and a neighbour. They were ordered out and told to lie face down on the road. Sufian's father heard the commotion and rushed out to find the soldiers pointing their rifles at his son and the others. Claiming the uncle had fired at them, they started beating the three captives with their rifle butts, according to the father. A neighbour confirms that a shot had been fired, but it was part of a row between the Ghanis and another family. "In Iraq this is normal. Almost every household in Baghdad owns a weapon. One man was drunk. The Americans must have heard the shot as they were passing. It was not directed at them," says the neighbour, who prefers not to be named. The American soldiers searched the Ghanis' house, but found nothing. For three hours Sufian was kept on the ground with the two adults. Then the Americans put hoods over their heads, tied their hands with tight plastic bracelets, and drove them away. "Why are you taking my son?" a desperate Abdullah Ghani pleaded. "Don't worry. As he's a child, we'll send him back in a couple of days," a Sergeant Stark assured him. The three were driven off to Baghdad airport, where US forces have set up a makeshift prison in large tents. Around 500 Iraqis are held in miserable conditions, sleeping on the ground, with inadequate water rations and not enough blankets to go round, according to former detainees. Sufian spent eight days in a tent with around 20 adults. They were given yellow packets of ready-to-eat meals, the standard US army fare, but no change of clothes. Then the hood went back on and Sufian was taken to the Salhiyeh detention centre for women and juveniles - a holding facility in a police station just outside Saddam Hussein's Republican Palace, which has become the headquarters of the coalition authority. A woman prisoner spotted Sufian and realised he was much younger than the other inmates. On her release she went to see the Ghanis, who had been searching frantically for their son. It was now June 17, almost three weeks after his arrest on May 28. You can read the rest here: Guardian Unlimited (c) Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003 http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1019096,00.html ~Anai Rhoads _________________________________________________________________ The new MSN 8: smart spam protection and 2 months FREE* http://join.msn.com/?page=features/junkmail _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk