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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 03:17 GMT 04:17 UK
US acts after Iraq prisoner abuse
Abu Ghraib prison in a 2003 file photo
Abu Ghraib prison was much feared in Saddam Hussein's era
A US military investigation has recommended disciplinary action against several of its officers for the alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops.

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

The officers have already been suspended from duty.

A US TV channel showed pictures of US soldiers humiliating naked hooded prisoners at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib jail.

CBS TV says it has "dozens" of pictures showing a wide range of maltreatment. Taken by US troops, many of the pictures from Abu Ghraib, outside Baghdad, show American troops watching in apparent approval.

The US military says it is appalled by the behaviour of its soldiers, but insists this is an isolated case.

However, the fact that Americans may have humiliated Iraqis in the very prison where Saddam Hussein's regime tortured inmates will be badly received not only in Iraq, but across the region, says the BBC's Ian Pannell in Washington.

Shocking pictures

CBS said the 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.

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

A letter of reprimand could trigger further action and possibly lead to the officers being expelled from the army.

CBS said the pictures it obtained showed a wide range of abuses.

It said among them were images of prisoners with wires attached to their genitals, a dog attacking an inmate, prisoners being forced to simulate having sex with each other, and one detainee with an abusive word written on his body.

Last month, the army announced that 17 soldiers had been suspended over the allegations of abuse of prisoners. Six of them - military police - are facing court martial.

'Appalled'

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.


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