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Haji Ali and U.S. Prisons in Iraq

Cliff Kindy, Electronic Iraq

at_vigil_525.jpeg


12 January 2005

Sheila Provencher and Cliff Kindy met with Haji Ali at a human rights office in central Baghdad. Haji Ali is a staff person for another human rights organization, Victims of American Occupation Prison Association. He says he is the person in the famous picture from Abu Ghraib Prison, a hooded detainee standing on a stool with electrical wires attached to his body. CPT has met several times with this group because of their direct connection to Iraqi detainees. It has been very difficult to get information to confirm media reports that the detainee population has doubled since the U.S. assault on Fallujah in November 2004.

Haji Ali said that they have contacts with all kinds of people, even the resistance. He continued, "U.S. prisons are the best training grounds for the resistance. Prisoners feel hopeless when they are mistreated. Will this treatment make U.S. citizens feel safe in Iraq or the Middle East? Kuwait has been the strongest ally of the U.S., but the people there reject the U.S. The United States is fighting terrorism and pushing people into being enemies."

Haji Ali told the CPTers that military base detention facilities are being used to hold detainees for long periods to cover up the large number of detainees. He also mentioned a glass factory in Ramadi, near Fallujah, that was being used as a detention facility. He then shared a map that located U.S. prisons across Iraq. The names and descriptions of the prisons were in Arabic, so the CPTers waited to get a translator who could carefully identify the locations.

The map is an official U.S. map from July 2004. There are 18 prisons identified, though Multinational Forces (MNF) usually only talk of Abu Ghraib and Bucca Camp, and, sometimes, Camp Cropper, at the Baghdad International Airport, which holds more prominent detainees. This map identifies these three and notes that these three, along with one other prison, have interrogation sections operated by intelligence units. For some reason these secret prisons, all supervised by U.S. security, are identified on the map by red marks.

Two other prisons on the map are identified as "temporary holding facilities." Another in Mosul is a youth and children facility. One in Erbil is a women's prison. The eighteen prison facilities are scattered all across Iraq. This U.S.-made map of Iraq has 15 prisons that are not mentioned by U.S. officials in public reports.

Haji Ali finished by saying, "Many detainees in prison are there based on false information." The International Red Cross reported last year that the U.S. holds 70 - 90% of Iraqi detainees without cause. With secret prisons and unknown numbers of Iraqi detainees, it is difficult to monitor U.S. treatment of Iraqi detainees. Haji Ali says, "U.S. human rights organizations and U.S. people must intervene to end the suffering of Iraqis."

Christian Peacemaker Teams is an ecumenical violence-reduction program with roots in the historic peace churches. Teams of trained peace workers live in areas of lethal conflict around the world. CPT has been present in Iraq since October, 2002. To learn more about CPT, please visit http://www.cpt.org.
Photos of CPT projects may be viewed at www.cpt.org/gallery



:: Article nr. 8809 sent on 12-jan-2005 16:56 ECT

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