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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 June, 2004, 06:20 GMT 07:20 UK
Rumsfeld says torture not allowed
Military police officer Abu Ghraib prison, Baghdad
Further hearings into the Abu Ghraib abuses will take place next week
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has again insisted that Washington is adhering to the Geneva Conventions and US laws prohibiting torture.

His remarks follow recent leaks of internal memos containing arguments that in certain cases the president could override prohibitions on torture.

Mr Rumsfeld said there was no doubt either in his or President Bush's mind about the definition of torture.

The BBC's Nick Childs says the scandal shows no sign of going away.

There is no wiggle room in the president's mind or my mind about torture
Donald Rumsfeld
It is likely to gain renewed momentum next week, he says, with further legal hearings in Baghdad and the US involving three of the soldiers charged with the Abu Ghraib abuses.

Photographs showing naked Iraqi detainees being humiliated and maltreated first started to surface in April, sparking shock and anger across the world.

Mr Rumsfeld's comments came as UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith announced that four British soldiers were facing courts martial over allegations of abuse of prisoners.

Mr Rumsfeld sought to dispel fears that the US military was regularly using methods of torture.

"There is no wiggle room in the president's mind or my mind about torture," he said.

"That is not something that's permitted under the Geneva Convention or the laws of the United States.

"That is not to say that somebody else couldn't characterise something in a way that would fit what I described," he added.

He noted that some have described the indefinite detention of suspected al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as a form of mental torture.

"Therefore, that word is used by some people in a way that is fair from their standpoint, but doesn't fit a dictionary definition of the word that one would normally accept," Mr Rumsfeld said.

Brigadier General Janis Karpinski
"I believe I was a convenient scapegoat"


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