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Friday, July 23, 2004

Probe finds no systematic prisoner abuse

July 23, 2004
An Army investigation has found no systematic abuse of prisoners in Iraq or Afghanistan and says nearly half of the accusations of mistreatment involved detainees "at the point of capture" on the battlefield.

"[Soldiers] face the daily risks of being attacked by detainees, contracting communicable diseases from sick detainees, being taunted or spat upon, having urine or feces thrown upon them and having to treat a detainee humanely who just attacked their unit or killed a fellow soldier," said the report released yesterday by the Army's inspector general, Lt. Gen. Paul Mikolashek.

"Despite these challenges, the vast majority of soldiers and other U.S. military personnel continued to do their duty to care for detainees in a fair and humane manner," the report said.

The investigation, ordered in February, found that of the more than 50,000 enemy military and terrorists detained in Iraq and Afghanistan, there were 94 cases of confirmed abuse or possible abuse -- a fraction of 1 percent.

Of the 94 cases, 45, or 48 percent, occurred at the time of capture when circumstances are the most volatile.

"The point of capture is the location where most contact with detainees occurs under the most uncertain, dangerous and frequently violent circumstances," the inspector general said.

The Army inspector general portrayed the abuses as sporadic, not systematic. The abuses were committed by a few of the tens of thousands of soldiers deployed to both war theaters since the September 11 attacks on America, the report said. FR Reprint.

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