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Top US General Denies Widespread Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners - 2004-05-02


The top U.S. general has denied there is any widespread, systematic abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military forces.

Speaking on ABC television Sunday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, said just a few soldiers were involved in incidents of abuse at Iraq's notorious Abu Gharib prison.

He added that he has not yet seen an internal army report that allegedly details the abuse, including beatings and sodomy. The New Yorker magazine says the still-classified investigation found "sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses" at the Iraqi prison.

Details of the report come just days after photographs were released of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi inmates at the Baghdad prison.

The U.S. Army reserve general in charge of the six soldiers accused of the abuse says she suspects the soldiers were encouraged by the intelligence community as a means of gathering information.

The U.S. military has launched criminal action against the accused soldiers. President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have strongly denounced the abuse.

Following the publication of the photographs showing prisoner abuse, Arab and Muslim leaders around the world accused the United States of hypocrisy in its stance on human rights.

Meanwhile, British radio reports that sources close to the British army have cast doubt on the authenticity of photos that appear to show British soldiers torturing an Iraqi prisoner.

Information for this report is provided by Reuters and AFP.

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