[JURIST] The Iraqi government announced plans Wednesday to rebuild Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive], where US military guards were photographed abusing Iraqi prisoners [JURIST report]. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the Iraqi Cabinet [official website, in Arabic] had approved the Defense Ministry's proposal to reopen the prison west of Baghdad. US authorities emptied Abu Ghraib of its final 2,000 prisoners and returned it to Iraqi control [JURIST reports] in late 2006. The new Abu Ghraib is to incorporate a museum depicting crimes committed during the regime of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive], when the prison was feared as a site of torture and executions. A timeline for the project has not yet been established. AFP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.
A Human Rights Watch report asserted that US commanders authorized widespread torture of prisoners [JURIST report] during and even after photos of guards abusing inmates surfaced in the media. Former Abu Ghraib commander Janis Karpinski said in 2005 that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [JURIST news archive] personally signed a memorandum authorizing extreme interrogation techniques [JURIST report]. Several US soldiers were convicted of abuse at Abu Ghraib, including former US Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick, who was paroled [JURIST report] in late 2007 after serving three years in prison. The conviction of the only commissioned officer charged in connection with the abuse was annulled [JURIST report] early this year. A number of lawsuits are pending against US military contractors for alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib, including one filed this July [JURIST report] by four former prisoners.