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Ex-Abu Ghraib detainee recounts atrocities committed by US forces

The Peninsula

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December 23, 2006

DOHA • An Iraqi who spent seven months in Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad says he has horrifying experiences to tell of how the US soldiers have committed atrocities on innocent Iraqi civilians who were taken into custody and put behind the bars for no fault of theirs.

And among the prisoners were not only young Iraqi men, but also the elderly, women and children, according to Abdul Jabbar Al Azzawi.

Having vowed to expose the "dirty face of America" before the world, Al Azzawi is here holding an exhibition of photographs showing "chilling" human rights violations committed by the US soldiers in his country.

The exhibition which opened yesterday on the sidelines of the 'Islamist-Arab nationalists' conference at the Ritz-Carlton ends today, although the conference concluded last evening.

Al Azzawi was working with a non-government organisation (NGO) doing family welfare work in Baghdad at the time of US invasion in early 2003. He says he was taken captive by the US forces because he was a Sunni Muslim and put in the dreaded Abu Ghuraib prison.

There were an estimated 9,000 to 9,500 Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghuraib at the time and many of them were old men, women and even children, Al Azzawi told The Peninsula in an interview.

An incident which Al Azzawi said changed his life and made him vow to expose the 'gory deeds of Americans in Iraq' before the world was the rape of a young Iraqi woman in front of other prisoners.

"All of us were kept in a cell each and there were about 50 cells in our wing. Late one night, I heard the voice of this Iraqi woman coming from her cell. She was being raped by some US soldiers and screaming for help." 'Save me, my Iraqi brothers!’ she was screaming hysterically.

"We could do nothing, so we began praying for her and reciting verses from the Holy Quran. Realising that we were in no position to come to her rescue, she also began reciting the verse."

"However, she did not stop screaming. Her voice began gradually sinking and after a while, there was pin-drop silence. We don't know what happened to her after that," said Al Azzawi.

In reply to a question about the ongoing Sunni-Shi'ite conflict in Iraq, he said it is the handiwork of the Americans. "They are playing the Sunnis against their Shi’ite brethren."

'700,000 Iraqis killed since US invasion’

DOHA • More than 700,000 Iraqis have been killed since the US invaded the country in early 2003 until November this year, according to statistics released by the National Centre for Research and Arab Studies.

The figures were released at an exhibition of photographs showing human rights violations committed by US soldiers in Iraq which opened here yesterday on the sidelines of the 'Islamists-Arab conference’ at the Ritz-Carlton.

Another 300,000 Iraqis are languishing in jails both inside the country and outside. There are huge camps in Kurba near Baghdad international airport and in Basra where a large number of Iraqi civilians have been kept prisoners. These camps are notorious for human rights violations, the release said.


:: Article nr. 29255 sent on 24-dec-2006 07:27 ECT

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Link: www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Local_News&subsection=Qatar+N
   ews&month=December2006&file=Local_News200612234114.xml




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