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US Defense Department to Release Prison Abuse Pictures

A rights group says U.S. authorities will release photographs showing abuse of prisoners by U.S. personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush administration.

The American Civil Liberties Union said late Thursday the Defense Department had agreed to release the pictures by May 28, in response to a lawsuit the ACLU filed in 2004.

ACLU staff attorney Amrit Singh said the photographs provide "visual proof" that prisoner abuse was widespread.

The Bush administration had refused to release the photographs, saying they could generate anti-American outrage and may violate the country's obligations to the detainees under the Geneva Conventions.

It failed in several court battles to keep the photos secret, including an appeal denied in March.

In 2004, photographs were published of U.S. soldiers abusing and humiliating detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, sparking 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 and AP.