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Iraq Prisons Chief Says Abu Ghraib To Remain Open - 2004-05-08


The head of U.S.-run prisons in Iraq says the military will continue operating the Baghdad prison where abuse of detainees by American soldiers recently became public.

Major General Geoffrey Miller said (Saturday) there are no immediate plans to shut down Abu Ghraib prison -- despite calls by some politicians in the United States to destroy the facility.

General Miller said American soldiers will, in the future, prevent all abuses and protect the rights of detainees at American-run prisons.

His remarks came as one of the the soldiers accused of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib told the Washington Post newspaper about the practices for which she and five other soldiers now face charges.

In excerpts of an e-mail to the Post, appearing in Saturday's edition of the newspaper, Specialist Sabrina Harman said her unit was assigned, in her words, to "keep [detainees] awake, make it hell so they would talk."

In his weekly radio address, Saturday, President Bush said only a small number of U.S. soldiers took part in the abuse and that those who did will be punished.

On Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it had concerns about the treatment of detainees at coalition prisons in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib, as early as last year. The group said it repeatedly made these concerns known to coalition forces.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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