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Pentagon reports chronicle mistreatment of detainees

[JURIST] US Department of Defense documents released Friday chronicle multiple mistreatments of Iraqi prisoners by US personnel in 2003 and 2004 but stop short of labeling the instances of mistreatment illegal, describing them instead as "wrong." Over 1000 pages of US military documents handed over to the ACLU pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request [ACLU materials] include two internal military reports which had previously been known but the contents of which had been classified: that of Gen. Richard Formica on the operation of special forces in Iraq [Boston Globe editorial], submitted in November 2004 and later released to members of Congress, and a report by Brig. Gen. Charles Jacoby [Washington Post backgrounder] on detainees in Afghanistan, undertaken in May 2004. The released copies of the reports were heavily redacted, but show concern over practices such as stripping detainees, depriving them of sleep, assailing them with loud music, withholding food other than bread and water in some cases for up to 17 days, and altering their environmental conditions, suggesting they were kept too hot or too cold. The Formica report expressly concluded that some Iraqi detainees were not being treated in accordance "with the spirit of the principles set forth in the Geneva Conventions." No US personnel were specifically punished for misconduct in the wake of that investigation.

Both reports said insufficient training and unclear policy standards made abuses possible, and recommended appropriate changes in procedures for detainee handling. A Defense Department source told AP that the Formica report recommendations had all been implemented. AP has more.

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