[JURIST] Reuters is reporting that the US military will close Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] and transfer approximately 4,500 prisoners to other facilities in Iraq, according to a military spokesman. The prison, a torture center under the regime of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] that again became notorious for abuses during the US occupation, is expected to close within the next three months. Lieutenant Colonel Keir-Kevin Curry, the Pentagon's spokesman for US detention operations in Iraq, told Reuters that operations will be transferred from Abu Ghraib to Camp Cropper and Abu Ghraib will be turned over to the Iraqi government.
Photos of US personnel abusing detainees held at Abu Ghraib first circulated in 2003, and new images depicting abuse [JURIST report] were made public by Australian media earlier this year. US abuses at the prison have been widely condemned as contrary to international law [JURIST report] and a recent report [text] from Amnesty International concluded that the arbitrary detention of thousands of people in Iraq has facilitated abuses [JURIST report] at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in the country. Reuters has more.
3:35 PM ET – The American Forces Press service is now reporting that "news reports that the U.S. military intends to close Abu Ghraib within the next few months and to transfer its prisoners to other jails are inaccurate", according to defense officials. The officials say that although the US has always intended to transfer its Iraq detention facilities to Iraqis, there is no set timetable for doing so and the timing of a future handover will depend on both the readiness of Iraqi security forces to take them over and the state of infrastructure improvements.