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 - Iraqi Prisoners ‘Forced to Crawl Over Glass’ - Iraq

    Iraqi Prisoners ‘Forced to Crawl Over Glass’

    IRAQI prisoners were forced to crawl through broken glass and wear women's sanitary products, according to the female soldier at the centre of the Baghdad jail abuse scandal.

    Private Lynndie England, pictured pointing at a naked Iraqi prisoner and holding another by a leash, also reportedly told investigators inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison, near Baghdad, were beaten and had wounds stitched by untrained guards with needle and thread.

    Other former guards at the jail told how a hooded detainee died after being taken to a shower room for interrogation by the CIA.

    Details of the damning statement given to investigators emerged on the eve of the first court martial of seven soldiers charged over abuses at the jail.

    Specialist Jeremy Sivits, 24, is expected to appear before a special court martial in Baghdad today and plead guilty after telling investigators the abuse was the work of rogue soldiers and not ordered from above. Most of the other soldiers implicated in the scandal claim they were told by military intelligence officers to "soften up" prisoners for interrogation.

    The US military, which faced international outrage earlier this month after photographs showed US soldiers humiliating and abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib, has maintained the abuse was carried out by a small number of soldiers and that all allegations of abuse are promptly and thoroughly investigated.

    However, in a statement by investigators, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Private England, said "everyone in the company from the commander down" knew what was going on. She said guards forced detainees to crawl on their hands and knees on broken glass, threw a heavy ball at handcuffed prisoners and forced male detainees to wear women's "maxi pads".

    Private England told investigators much of the abuse was "basically us fooling around ... we thought it looked funny, so pictures were taken," she said. However, she added: "Personnel from MI (military intelligence) and OGA (other government agency) would tell us to keep it up, that we were doing a good job."

    source: Scottish Herald - May 19, 2004

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