The commander of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said a military investigation has found no evidence that U.S. guards or interrogators ever flushed the Muslim holy book, the Koran, down a toilet. But Brigadier General Jay Hood identified five incidents in which the Koran was "mishandled" by military personnel at the facility.
The commander of the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Brigadier General Jay Hood told a Pentagon news conference that an ongoing military investigation has found "no credible evidence" to substantiate that a Koran was flushed in a toilet by military personnel.
A Federal Bureau of Investigation report from 2002, which was recently released, quoted a Guantanamo detainee as saying guards had thrown the Muslim holy book into a toilet.
General Hood said military investigators re-interviewed the unidentified prisoner on May 14th and he did not mention this happening. "What that detainee told us was he had not seen that happened, with regards to the toilet, what he had heard was that there were others who had mistreated or mishandled the Koran."
One reporter asked if a toilet was involved. General Hood replied, "A toilet was not involved."
General Hood says the inquiry, which began 12 days ago, uncovered five instances of mishandling of the Muslim holy book by guards or interrogators. General Hood said the mishandling was likely deliberate in three cases and accidental in the other two. In two cases, guards were punished - one was recently reassigned. "He was removed from his duties on that site and given other duties."
Last week, Newsweek magazine retracted a report that said Guantanamo guards flushed a Koran down a toilet. The report sparked anti-American protests in several Muslim countries.
*** Correction - Headline was corrected 6/1/2005.