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Context of 'August 2004: Estimated 5,000 Detainees Being Held at Abu Ghraib'

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1992: US Army Field Manual Prohibits Torture

The latest edition of the US Army’s Field Manual 34-52 is published, and it includes rules governing interrogations. It unequivocally states that binding international treaties and US policy “expressly prohibit acts of violence or intimidation, including physical or mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to inhumane treatment as a means of or aid to interrogation. Such illegal acts are not authorized and will not be condoned by the US Army.” It defines “physical torture” to include “infliction of pain through chemicals or bondage,” “forcing an individual to stand, sit or kneel in abnormal positions for prolonged periods of time,” “food deprivation,” and “any form of beating.” It notes that the “use of torture by US personnel will bring discredit upon the US and its armed forces while undermining domestic and international support for the war effort. It also may place US and allied personnel in enemy hands at a greater risk of abuse by their captors.” These regulations will still be in effect after 9/11. [CBC News, 11/16/2005]

Entity Tags: US Department of the Army

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

Abu Ghraib is attacked roughly 25 times with mortar fire. Six detainees and two soldiers are killed and seventy-one people are injured. [International Committee of the Red Cross, 2/24/2004 pdf file; Guardian, 5/20/2004; Rolling Stone, 7/28/2004] The prison complex “was mortared every single night,” Karpinski will later say. [Washington Post, 5/12/2004; Signal Newspaper, 7/4/2004]

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

In an interview, the US officer in charge of interrogations at Abu Ghraib acknowledges that, as per the directive from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld (see December 2, 2002), detainees are subjected to stress positioning. Stress positions are a violation of the Geneva Conventions. [Huffington Post, 4/21/2009]

Entity Tags: Geneva Conventions, Donald Rumsfeld

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

Six detainees escape from Camp Ganci in Abu Ghraib. [US Department of the Army, 3/9/2004]

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

The first incident of abuse involving guard dogs reportedly occurs at Abu Ghraib. [US Department of Defense, 8/23/2004 pdf file]

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

The rate at which detainees are released from Abu Ghraib appears to be increasing. [US News and World Report, 6/21/2004] On this day, the total number of detainees held by US troops in Iraq stands at 8,968 according to a report by Human Rights Watch. [Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004]

Entity Tags: Human Rights Watch

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

The worst mortar attack on Abu Ghraib to date takes place. Twenty-two Iraqi detainees are killed and more than 100 injured. [American Forces Press Service, 9/21/2004]

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

On May 14, 2004, 293 prisoners are released from Abu Ghraib prison. [CNN, 5/18/2004] Over the next weeks until mid-June, an estimated additional 1,680 prisoners are released from the prison. [US News and World Report, 6/21/2004] Prior to these mass releases, there were about 3,800 prisoners at Abu Ghraib. [CNN, 5/18/2004]

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

The number of inmates at Abu Ghraib is estimated to be about 5,000. [BBC, 8/4/2004]

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives


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