Iraqi In Custody Tortured To Death
Berlin - The case of Asad Abdul Kareem Abdul Jaleel was pure routine for the
American troops. After the 47 year old family father died on the US military
base Al Asad west of the town of Khan al Baghdad in US custody on January
9th 2004, an American doctor filled out a death certificate. Apparently
without doing an examination, and according to the documents, without
performing an autopsy, the pathologist Luis A. Santiago wrote that the man
had died in his sleep. The US troops handed the body, including the death
certificate, over to the International Red Cross shortly thereafter.
American troops had previously arrested the respected family patriarch on an
open road and taken him to the American military base Al Asad west of the
town of Khan al Baghdad. Ostensibly there was suspicion that he belonged to
the Iraqi resistance. The soldiers are alleged to have put enormous pressure
on Asad Abdul Kareem Abdul Jaleel in the base prison. Another prisoner gave
Spiegel TV a detailed description of how the 47 year old was tortured in a
sadistic manner for five days. The witness says that the soldiers also took
photographs of the abuse.
Asad Abdul Kareem Abdul Jaleel died in US detention on January 9th of this
year. However, there are grave doubts about the version that claims his
death to have been from natural causes. An Iraqi forensic pathologist who
took the body over from the US armed forces confirmed to Spiegel TV in
Baghdad that he diagnosed definite torture marks on the body of the
deceased. In addition, photos of the deceased confirm that contrary to the
US documentation, an autopsy had been performed on the man. The scars on the
torso indicate that Western doctors did the autopsy.
Deep Dark Bruises on the Entire Body
Even a layman can easily recognize the obvious effects of violence on the
pictures of the body: Large, dark bruises that could come from beatings can
be seen on both sides of the body. On the wrists and ankles there are
bruises, which presumably date back to many days of captivity. There are
bruises from beatings or other forms of violent impact on the back. Other
lacerations on the upper body point to injuries which can hardly be called
If the suspicious facts against the US troops turn out to be true, the US
torture scandal would take a dramatic turn. If the charges hitherto were
about violent abuses of prisoners and humiliating methods of interrogation,
the investigation would now have to include failure to give assistance,
manslaughter, or even murder. The participating soldiers and their
commanding officers could be harshly punished, and the US army in Iraq would
be exposed to even more hate and desire for revenge than they already are.
Although there are already a number of investigations being carried out
about unclarified deaths in Iraq, and also in Afghanistan, - the army
insists that in none of the cases can the guilt of the soldiers be proven.
According to the research of Spiegel TV, the case of the family father
Jaleel in occupied Iraq is not a rarity. Employees of the Forensic Pathology
Institute in Baghdad confirm that among the bodies that the International
Red Cross has handed over to them on behalf of the Americans there are
always victims of torture. However, the Iraqi pathologists are forbidden to
do their own investigation as long as there is an American death certificate
- even if the information about the cause of death is obviously false.
The US Army Remains Silent
About five bodies with US Armed Forces death certificates are handed over
every week in Baghdad alone, according to the employees of the Institute.
The established practice of the Americans is to declare bodies that come
from the prison at Abu Ghuraib as victims of grenade attacks on the camp.
This was the case with the bodies of 26 detainees last week, even though
only some of the bodies showed injuries typical of grenade attacks, the
Meanwhile in the case of the 47 year old Asad Abdul Kareem Abdul Jaleel,
there appears to be an internal investigation of the US troops going on.
Witnesses report that they have been questioned by US soldiers about the
procedures on the American military base Al Asad. Spiegel TV has been
attempting to get a statement from the responsible authorities of the army
in Baghdad for several days. Up to now, however, all written as well as oral
questions remain unanswered.
Source: Spiegel TV Exclusive - 16 May 2004