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Iraq officials announce reopening of Abu Ghraib prison

[JURIST] The prison formerly known as Abu-Ghraib [CBC backgrounder, JURIST news archive] will be reopened as soon as renovations are completed, and will be renamed Baghdad Central Prison, officials from the Iraqi Ministry of Justice in Baghdad announced on Thursday. Several Iraqi government officials, including Acting Justice Minister Safaaldeen Al-Safi have visited the site [KUNA report] to inspect the work in progress, which officials say will meet international standards once completed. The Iraqi Cabinet [official website, in Arabic] approved the Defense Ministry's proposal to reopen the prison [JURIST report] in September of 2008.

The prison, which was the site of the US detainee torture scandal, was returned to the Iraqi government [JURIST report] in late 2006. In December 2008, the Senate Armed Services Committee [official website] reported [text, PDF] that senior US officials are responsible [JURIST report] for the use of abusive interrogation techniques against detainees held in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay. Their bipartisan report explicitly rejected Bush administration claims that tough interrogation methods have helped keep the country and its troops safe and stated that the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, "was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own" but grew out of interrogation policies approved by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top officials. Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama said during an interview that he has not ruled out prosecuting officials for rights abuses [JURIST report] committed under the Bush administration.

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