News / USA

    Pentagon Releases Photos of Prisoner Abuse

    A detainee shows his scalp in an undated photo from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, among 198 images released in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2016.
    A detainee shows his scalp in an undated photo from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, among 198 images released in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2016.

    The Pentagon has released nearly 200 pictures previously withheld from the public that document prisoner abuse in some Iraq and Afghanistan detention centers from 2001 to 2009.

    The photos come from independent criminal investigations into allegations of misconduct by U.S. personnel, according to a Defense Department spokesman.

    Fourteen of these investigations substantiated allegations, and 65 service members were disciplined for misconduct.

    The American Civil Liberties Union, a U.S. human rights group, had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request demanding the government reveal the abuse records.

    A measurement strip lies on the hand of a detainee in an undated photo from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, among 198 images released in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2016.A measurement strip lies on the hand of a detainee in an undated photo from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, among 198 images released in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2016.
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    A measurement strip lies on the hand of a detainee in an undated photo from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, among 198 images released in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2016.
    A measurement strip lies on the hand of a detainee in an undated photo from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, among 198 images released in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2016.

    The photographs had been kept from the public under the Protected National Security Documents Act of 2009. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter reviewed the protected items in November 2015 and determined 198 images did not need to be protected from public release.

    According to a Defense Department spokesman, Carter's review process considered whether disclosure of the sensitive images "would endanger citizens of the United States, members of the U.S. armed forces or employees of the U.S. government deployed outside the United States."

    President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13491 during his first month in office to ensure the safe, lawful and humane treatment of individuals in U.S. custody. The Department of Defense spokesman said the department has fully complied with the order.


    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

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