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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 April, 2004, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
US general suspended over abuse
Abu Ghraib prison in a 2003 file photo
Abu Ghraib prison was much feared in Saddam Hussein's day
A US general has been suspended in Iraq over the alleged abuse of prisoners by US troops in jails she ran.

Brigadier General Janis Karpinski is among seven officers being investigated following claims that soldiers under their command mistreated detainees.

The army confirmed the suspension after US television broadcast images of US soldiers allegedly abusing inmates at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

CBS TV says it has "dozens" of pictures showing a wide range of maltreatment.

Taken by US troops, many of the pictures show American troops watching in apparent approval.

They wear the same uniform as us, and they let their fellow soldiers down
Gen Mark Kimmitt
on the soldiers facing court martial

The army announced last month that 17 soldiers had been suspended over the allegations of abuse of prisoners.

Six of them - military police - are facing court martial.

CBS said an army investigation had concluded that Gen Karpinski's "lack of leadership and clear standards" led to problems in Abu Ghraib and three other prisons for which she was responsible.

The army has made no formal charges against her. She is the subject of an investigation that could result in a written reprimand, AFP news agency reported.


Brig Gen Mark Kimmitt told CBS the army was "appalled" by the behaviour of its soldiers.

Gen Kimmitt, the deputy head of coalition forces in Iraq, said the suspected abusers "let their fellow soldiers down".

But, he said, the few suspects were "not representative of the 150,000 soldiers that are over here... Don't judge your army based on the actions of a few," he urged Americans.

CBS says the pictures it obtained show a wide range of abuses, including:

  • Prisoners with wires attached to their genitals

  • A dog attacking a prisoner

  • Prisoners being forced to simulate having sex with each other

  • A detainee with an abusive word written on his body.

The prison where the abuses are alleged to have taken place was a notorious torture centre during the Saddam Hussein era.

Bob Baer, a former CIA operative with extensive Iraq experience, told CBS: "If there [was] ever a reason to get rid of Saddam Hussein, it's Abu Ghraib [prison]."

No guidance

The station spoke to one of the six soldiers charged, Sergeant Chip Frederick - a reservist whose full-time job is as a prison officer in the US state of Virginia.

We had no training whatsoever
Sgt Chip Frederick
Sgt Frederick said he and his fellow reservists had never been told how to deal with prisoners, or what lines should not be crossed.

"We had no training whatsoever," he said.

"I kept asking my chain of command for certain things... like rules and regulations. And it just wasn't happening," he said.

He said he never saw a copy of the Geneva Conventions - which govern the treatment of prisoners - until after he was charged.

The Army investigation confirmed that reservists at Abu Ghraib had not been trained in Geneva Convention rules.

The military police officers have been charged by the US Army with crimes ranging from assault and maltreatment to indecent acts against prisoners.

The soldiers in question reportedly were assisting interrogators from US intelligence agencies.

Last month, when the six military police officers were charged, an Army spokesman said the alleged crimes involved fewer than 20 prisoners and happened around November and December.

The charges include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty, maltreatment, assault and indecent acts with another.

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