AFGHANISTAN: The Pentagon has released 198 photographs on February 5 showing abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq by U.S. personnel.
Many of the photographs released by Pentagon show close-ups of cuts and bruises on the arms and legs of the prisoners.
According to Pentagon, the photographs came from investigations into 56 allegations of misconduct by U.S. personnel.
Pentagon also added that 14 of those allegations were sustained and led to disciplinary action against 65 U.S. service members, including life imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the Amnesty International, said hundreds more photographs and documents pertaining abuse of prisoners in the two countries, remain withheld.
The international rights organization said it has documented numerous cases of abuses at U.S. detention sites, including in Iraq and Afghanistan between the years of 2002 and 2006.
“Despite an overwhelming amount of public evidence, to date, senior U.S. officials have escaped investigation or prosecution by U.S. authorities even when they have themselves disclosed information about their own or others’ alleged culpability for the use of torture,” Amnesty International said.
It also added “While there have been some courts-martial of members of the U.S. military for certain abuses, these have been directed largely at low-level soldiers, and the fact remains that there has been continuing impunity for higher level officials.”
Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security and Human Rights Program, said “Today’s release illustrates just a small portion of the real-life horror story that was the U.S. government’s practice of torture. Prosecutors should review these and other documents for evidence of torture and other ill-treatment. These photos are not only reminders of torture committed by U.S. personnel, they may provide potential new evidence of criminal wrongdoing.”
“Prosecutors should immediately reopen and expand investigations into torture and other human rights violations. The Justice Department has a history of ignoring new evidence of past crimes, including the full Senate torture report published last year. The military justice system lacks independence and cannot provide justice here,” Shah added.
“The torture perpetrated by the U.S. was not just the work of ‘a few bad apples’ – it was systemic and ordered by the highest levels of government. Senior U.S. government and military leaders and others who devised, authorized and ordered abusive and unlawful practices deployed by U.S. forces must be held accountable. There must be arrests and there must be prosecutions. The U.S. cannot – and, frankly, will not – be seen as a leader on human rights if it continues to turn a blind eye to its own abuses,” she said, adding that “Those who have suffered at the hands of U.S. personnel have had nowhere to turn to for truth or justice.” -KP