Prisoner Abuse in Iraq

Abu Garib
Abu Garib Prison 


In April 2004 news reports came out that American forces had repeatedly tortured Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Gharib prison. Picutures also widly circulated of that torture. The news shocked the American public and caused wide spread demonstration against the US.


Abu Garib prison was located in the town of Abu Garib 32 kilometers west of Baghdad was one of the prisons used by the regime of Sassam Hussein. The 50,000 men and women were all let go with the fall of the Iraqi government. The prison was looted. When the American took over, they refurbished the prison and began using it for three types of prisoners; common criminals, leaders of the insurgency, individual who had committed crimes against the American occupation. The 800th Military Police Brigade from Uniondale NY was responsible for running the prison.

While most of the prisoners at Abu Garib were held in outdoor tents, the high-value prisoners were held inside cell blocks 1a and 1b. Under an executive order signed the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” was permitted to extract intelligence. What happened at the prison however went far beyond that with many of the prisoner tortured, and some were suffering from rape sodomy other sexual abuses and one even murdered. Those doing it took pictures of their actions.

Word of what was taking place at the prison first became public when Amnesty International published a report accusing the US of prisoner abuse. When pictures appeared of the abuse including treating prisoners like dogs, widespread outrage ensued. Eleven soldiers and officers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery. All were sentenced to various times in military prisons, with one receiving a ten-year sentence. The abuse at Abu-Garib especially the fact that there were photos of it, set back American efforts in Iraq and fueled the insurgency.