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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-315661 ICRC-US-IRAQ (L-O)
DATE:>
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=5/6/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=ICRC/ U-S/IRAQ (L-ONLY)

NUMBER=2-315661

BYLINE=ROGER WILKISON

DATELINE=BRUSSELS

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross says it has repeatedly asked U-S authorities to take action to improve the situation of inmates at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison. But a Red Cross spokeswoman refused to specify whether the organization alerted U-S forces to recently revealed incidents of prisoner abuse. Europe Correspondent Roger Wilkison reports from Brussels.

TEXT: The Red Cross says its representatives have regularly visited Abu Ghraib and spoken privately with prisoners.

The organization's priority is to watch for signs of abuse and immediately complain to authorities, but it does not make public what it tells government officials.

Red Cross spokeswoman Antonella Notari left open the possibility that the agency expressed concerns to U-S officials in Iraq about any problems of abuse it may have detected at Abu Ghraib. But she refused to say what it reported.

/// NOTARI ACT ONE ///

We have repeatedly requested the U-S authorities to take corrective action based on the findings and information that we had. As a standing procedure, we do not report publicly. We try and maintain a presence and maintain a working relationship with the detaining authorities to influence any change, to bring about any changes that are required.

/// END ACT ///

Ms. Notari is reluctant to say whether the information gathered by Red Cross delegates at Abu Ghraib coincides with graphic images broadcast all over the world of prisoner abuse.

/// NOTARI ACT TWO ///

I do not want to compare the pictures with our findings because I think that would already be misleading. I simply want people to know that the prisoners were able to speak with us in private . and that we have, based on these discussions, and based on our own observations, been able to make very firm recommendations to the U-S authorities.

/// END ACT ///

The Red Cross spokeswoman says U-S authorities have followed the agency's recommendations to improve prisoner conditions at Abu Ghraib.

/// NOTARI ACT THREE ///

Our recommendations were taken seriously, and I do think that now, yes, even more, there are other measures that are being planned, and we do, of course, intend to continue our visits and continue to monitor the situation and continue to discuss the situation with the U-S authorities.

/// END ACT ///

The Red Cross says it has visited more than 10-thousand people who have been detained in Iraq since the country was invaded more than a year ago. (SIGNED)

NEB/RW/MAR/RAE



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