DOJ opens grand jury investigation of Abu Ghraib homicide

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Tuesday initiated a grand jury investigation into the torture and death of a detainee at Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] in Baghdad. Manadel Al-Jamadi was captured [JURIST report] by US Navy SEALs on November 4, 2003 and held in Abu Ghraib prison as a "ghost detainee," or unregistered prisoner, for his suspected involvement in the bombing of a Red Cross center in Baghdad that killed 12 people. Ninety minutes after entering Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] custody he was dead and his body was preserved in ice, allegedly to cover up the circumstances of his death. Al-Jamadi's death at the detention center was ruled a homicide [JURIST report] and the US military never revealed the exact circumstances, though reports show he died while suspended by his wrists, which were handcuffed behind his back. Federal prosecutor John Durham is leading [AP report] the torture and war crimes investigation.

In May 2010, the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces [official website] heard arguments [JURIST report] in the appeal of Army Spc. Charles Graner [JURIST news archive]. In February 2010, the same court upheld the convictions [JURIST report] of two soldiers found guilty of offenses committed as guards at Abu Ghraib. Army Spc. Sabrina Harman had been convicted [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] of conspiracy, dereliction of duty and maltreatment of prisoners dating back to November 2003. Sgt. Michael Smith, similarly, was found guilty [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] of conspiracy to maltreat prisoners, dereliction of duty and indecent acts. Photos of Abu Ghraib prison guards smiling over al-Jamadi's body emerged after al-Jamadi's death and led to the conviction of Graner [JURIST report] for abusing detainees. A US Navy SEAL was court-martialed [JURIST report] in March 2005 in connection with al-Jamadi's death, but was later acquitted. Mark Swanner, the CIA officer identified as having conducted al-Jamadi's interrogation, has not been prosecuted in connection with his death and has denied any wrongdoing.

 

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