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Iran Press TV

Pentagon releases detainee abuse photos

Iran Press TV

Fri Feb 5, 2016 11:51PM

The US Defense Department has released a series of photographs, showing injuries inflicted on detainees by American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many of the 198 carefully vetted images that were released on Friday, are close-ups showing cuts, bruises, swollen joints and relatively small wounds, without providing the men's identity, according to AFP.

Moreover, there is little or no context to suggest exactly how the detainees might have been injured or what led to their detention.

In one of the cases, at least one service member was sentenced to life in prison as a result of investigations, the Pentagon said, declining to provide more information as to which images were connected to that case, or whether the detainee involved had survived the abuse.

The photos were released as part of an ongoing legal fight between the Pentagon and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed a freedom of information lawsuit in 2004 seeking access to some 2,000 photographs, purporting to show detainee mistreatment.

'These photos come from independent criminal investigations into allegations of misconduct by US personnel,' a Defense Department spokesman said.

'The investigations substantiated approximately 14 of the allegations, while approximately 42 allegations of misconduct were unsubstantiated,' he added.

The spokesman added that 65 service members had received some form of discipline, ranging from letters of reprimand to life imprisonment.

The administration of President Barack Obama first pledged to release the images in 2009, but Congress passed an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act allowing the photos to be kept secret in case they were deemed by the defense secretary as a threat to national security.

However, Pentagon chief Ashton Carter in November declined to recertify that the released images posed such a risk.

The ACLU pledged to continue seeking the remaining 1,800 or so images, saying the release was long overdue and its "selective" nature might mislead the public.

'The still-secret pictures are the best evidence of the serious abuses that took place in military detention centers,' ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer said in a statement.

It is not yet clear if any of the photographs originate from Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, where US soldiers were implicated in the torture and sexual humiliation of local prisoners in 2004.

Several court martials between 2004 and 2006 found 11 soldiers -- including Lynndie England, who was seen smiling beside naked prisoners being subjected to sexual abuse -- guilty of torturing the local detainees.

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