Hundreds of detainees abused, report finds

By Drew Brown
Knight Ridder Newspapers


WASHINGTON - Three human rights groups said Wednesday that they had found credible evidence that U.S. troops and government civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had abused, tortured or killed at least 460 detainees.

The researchers said they had found 330 cases of abuse and that only about half of them had been fully investigated, and one-third never were investigated or remained unresolved. The findings are in a report by New York University's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Human Rights First and Human Rights Watch.

At least 600 U.S. service members or civilians have been implicated in the cases of abuse. About 400 of them have been investigated, and only one-third of those who have been investigated have faced punishment of any kind, researchers said.

Also Wednesday, Army officials confirmed that criminal charges were being considered against Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan for his role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Col. Joe Curtin, an Army spokesman, said no decision had been made.

Jordan is the former head of the interrogation center at Abu Ghraib. If he's charged, he would be the highest-ranking officer charged in a case of detainee abuse.

The report by the human rights groups is the first full independent accounting of credible allegations of torture and abuse at American detention facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, according to the researchers.

It shows that detainee abuse has been more widespread that government officials have admitted and the American military and other government agencies have made only limited attempts to investigate and punish those responsible, the rights groups charged.
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