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US Rejects Newspaper Report on Iraq Prison Photos


The Obama administration is strongly denying a British newspaper report that says images of apparent rape and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners are among photographs that the U.S. government is trying to prevent from being made public.

Britain's Daily Telegraph quoted retired U.S. Army Major General Antonio Taguba as saying the pictures show "torture, abuse, rape and every indecency," and that he supports President Barack Obama's decision not to release them.

Taguba published a report in 2004 on the abuse scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. The scandal was triggered by the publication of photos of inmates being abused by smiling guards.

U.S. Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman Thursday said the Telegraph showed "an inability to get the facts right" and completely mischaracterized the images described in the article. Whitman said none of the photos in question depicts the images described in the newspaper article.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs also dismissed the British newspaper report.

President Obama has said photographs of detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan that he objects to releasing are "not particularly sensational" but would do no good if publicized.

Mr. Obama said the photos were investigated because they depict behavior that does not conform to U.S. Army rules of conduct. He said the people responsible for such treatment have been identified and dealt with.

The president also said he has asked his legal team to fight the release because he is concerned that the pictures would affect the safety of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The American Civil Liberties Union said recently that the Defense Department agreed to release the photos by May 28. The ACLU sued in 2004 to have the photographs released.

The previous Bush administration also refused to release the photos, saying they may violate the country's obligations to the detainees under the Geneva Conventions.

In 2004, published photos of U.S. soldiers abusing and humiliating detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq sparked outrage around the world. The scandal led to 11 U.S. soldiers being sentenced to prison terms of up to 10 years.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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