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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 18:45 GMT 19:45 UK
US troops 'abused Iraq reporters'
US forces during Falluja uprising
The arrests happened three months before the recent uprising in Falluja
Fresh allegations have emerged in Iraq regarding the alleged mistreatment of Iraqi detainees by US troops.

The Reuters news agency says three of its local staff were subjected to sexually degrading treatment after being detained in January.

The allegations came on the eve of the court martial of the first American soldier charged in connection with abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.

Reuters said it was unveiling the ordeal of its employees because the US military had concluded there was no evidence they had been abused.

The Reuters employees were allegedly abused at two US military bases, after being detained for covering the shooting down of a US helicopter near the flashpoint city of Falluja.

Baghdad-based cameraman Salem Ureibi, Falluja-based freelance TV journalist Ahmad Mohammad Hussein al-Badrani and driver Sattar Jabar al-Badrani were held for three days before being released without charge.

They said they were forced to make demeaning gestures as soldiers laughed, taunted them and took photographs.

Among other things, they were allegedly deprived of sleep, had bags placed over their heads, were kicked and hit and forced to remain in stress positions for long periods.

"When I saw the Abu Ghraib photographs, I wept," Mr Ureibi said on Tuesday. "I saw they had suffered like we had."

He said soldiers told him they wanted to have sex with him, and he was afraid he would be raped.

The detainees said they were never questioned during their time in detention and officials threatened to move them to the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

In its report, the US military said there was no evidence the Reuters staff had been tortured or abused.




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