Americans Raping Iraqi Juveniles
The Washington Post reported that previously
secret sworn statements by detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
describe in raw detail abuse that goes well beyond what has been made
public, adding allegations of prisoners being ridden like animals, sexually
fondled by female soldiers and forced to retrieve their food from toilets.
The fresh allegations of prison abuse are
contained in statements taken from 13 detainees shortly after a soldier
reported the incidents to military investigators in mid-January. The
detainees said they were savagely beaten and repeatedly humiliated sexually
by American soldiers working on the night shift at Tier 1A in Abu Ghraib
during the holy month of Ramadan, according to copies of the statements
obtained by The Washington Post.
The statements provide the most detailed
picture yet of what took place on the cellblock. Some of the detainees
described being abused as punishment or discipline after they were caught
fighting or with a prohibited item. Some said they were pressed to denounce
Islam or were force-fed pork and liquor. Many provided graphic details of
how they were sexually humiliated and assaulted, threatened with rape, and
forced to masturbate in front of female soldiers.
Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, detainee No. 151108, told
investigators that when he first arrived at Abu Ghraib last year, he was
forced to strip, put on a hood and wear rose-colored panties with flowers on
them. «Most of the days I was wearing nothing else», he said in his
Hilas also said he witnessed an Army
translator having sex with a boy at the prison. He said the boy was between
15 and 18 years old. Someone hung sheets to block the view, but Hilas said
he heard the boy's screams and climbed a door to get a better look. Hilas
said he watched the assault and told investigators that it was documented by
a female soldier taking pictures.
«The kid was hurting very bad», Hilas said.
Hilas, like other detainees interviewed by the
military, said he could not identify some of the soldiers because they
either covered their name patches or did not wear uniforms. But he and other
detainees did know the names of three, including Graner and Sgt. Javal S.
Davis, both of whom have been charged and now face courts-martial.
«They forced us to walk like dogs on our hands
and knees», said Hiadar Sabar Abed Miktub al-Aboodi, detainee No. 13077.
«And we had to bark like a dog, and if we didn't do that they started
hitting us hard on our face and chest with no mercy. After that, they took
us to our cells, took the mattresses out and dropped water on the floor and
they made us sleep on our stomachs on the floor with the bags on our head
and they took pictures of everything».
The prisoners also provided accounts of how
some of the now-famous photographs were staged, including the pyramid of
hooded, naked prisoners.
Another publicized photograph -- that of a
hooded detainee hooked up to wires and standing on a box -- is also
described in the statements.
«On the third day, after five o'clock, Mr.
Graner came and took me to room Number 37, which is the shower room, and he
started punishing me», said Abdou Hussain Saad Faleh, detainee No. 18170.
«Then he brought a box of food and he made me stand on it with no clothing,
except a blanket. Then a tall black soldier came and put electrical wires on
my fingers and toes and on my penis, and I had a bag over my head».
«They said we will make you wish to die
and it will not happen», said Ameen Saeed Al-Sheik, detainee No. 151362.
stripped me naked. One of them told me he would rape me. He drew a picture
of a woman to my back and makes me stand in shameful position holding my
The sworn statements, taken in Baghdad between
Jan. 16 and Jan. 21, span 65 pages. Each statement begins with a handwritten
account in Arabic that is signed by the detainee, followed by a typewritten
translation by U.S. military contractors. The shortest statement is a single
paragraph; the longest exceeds two single-spaced typewritten pages.
While military investigators interviewed the
detainees separately, many of them recalled the same event or pattern of
events and procedures in Tier 1A -- a block reserved for prisoners who were
thought to possess intelligence that could help thwart the insurgency in
Iraq, find Saddam Hussein or locate weapons of mass destruction. Military
intelligence officers took over the cellblock last October and were using
MPs to help 'set the conditions' for interrogations, according to an
investigative report complied by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba. Several MPs
have since said in statements and through their attorneys that they were
roughing up detainees at the direction of U.S. military intelligence
Most of the detainees said in the statements
that they were stripped upon their arrival to Tier 1A, forced to wear
women's underwear, and repeatedly humiliated in front of one another and
American soldiers. They also described beatings and threats of death and
sexual assault if they did not cooperate with U.S. interrogators.
Hilas told investigators that he asked
Graner for the time one day because he wanted to pray. He said Graner cuffed
him to the bars of a cell window and left him there for close to five hours,
his feet dangling off the floor. Hilas also said he watched as Graner and
others sodomized a detainee with a phosphoric light.
«They tied him to
Mustafa Jassim Mustafa, detainee No. 150542,
told military investigators he also witnessed the phosphoric-light assault.
He said it was around the time of Ramadan, the holiest period of the Muslim
year, when he heard screams coming from a cell below. Mustafa said he looked
down to see a group of soldiers holding the detainee down and sodomizing him
with the light.
Another detainee told military investigators
that American soldiers sodomized and beat him. The detainee, whose name is
being withheld by The Post because he is an alleged victim of a sexual
assault, said he was kept naked for five days when he first arrived at Abu
Ghraib and was forced to kneel for four hours with a hood over his head. He
said he was beaten so badly one day that the hood flew off his head.
police was telling me to crawl in Arabic, so I crawled on my stomach and the
police were spitting on me when I was crawling, and hitting me on my back,
my head and my feet», he said in his sworn statement.
One day, the detainee said, American soldiers
held him down and spread his legs as another soldier prepared to open his
pants. 'I started screaming', he said. A soldier stepped on his head, he
said, and someone broke a phosphoric light and spilled the chemicals on him.
«I was glowing and they were laughing», he
The detainee said the soldiers eventually
brought him to a room and sodomized him with a nightstick.
«They were taking
pictures of me during all these instances», he told the investigators.
Last Wednesday one of the servicemen charged
with humiliation of inmates in Abu Ghraib, 24-year-old US military policeman
(trained as a mechanic) Jeremy C. Sivitz of Hyndman, Pennsylvania (who took
the picture of the now-infamous human pyramid of naked Iraqi detainees),
pleaded guilty to abuse charges, and a military judge slapped the
24-year-old Army reservist with the maximum sentence: a year in prison, a
demotion in rank and a bad-conduct discharge. Sivits had begged to be
allowed to stay in the Army.
Sivitz confessed his guilt, but he stated that
along with his fellow servicemen he was fulfilling orders of military
intelligence officers. According to him, they were the ones making soldiers
beat, humiliate and torture the Iraqi detainees held in the prison with no
trial or investigation.
The court martial sentenced Sivitz to one year
in jail. US army sergeant will be suspended and dismissed. This is the
maximum punishment after Sivitz plea-bargained and confessed to what he did.
21 May, 2004