Abu Ghraib Victims Recall Fear, Humiliation

They say they were subjected to psychological torture, physically abused, sexually humiliated.

And three former detainees at Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison told ABC News' Nightline it was at the hands of the U.S. military.

Most recent polls show between 80 percent and 90 percent of Iraqis call Americans not liberators, but occupiers. And by a clear majority, Iraqis want Americans to leave the country as soon as possible.

How did America lose the Iraqis' support? For many Iraqis, the answer is Abu Ghraib.

‘Immoral Practices’ Under U.S., Not Saddam

Saddam Saleh al-Radi, a former Abu Ghraib detainee, has a unique perspective: He was jailed in Abu Ghraib twice — the first time for trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein in the mid-1990s.

"What U.S. forces did to me, Saddam Hussein himself did not do," al-Radi said through a translator. "During Saddam Hussein's time, we used to be tortured. The scars from the torture I received during the previous regime still mark parts of my body. But I was never forced into nudity. There were never any immoral practices during Saddam Hussein's regime."

Al-Radi said he was arrested in late November after he reported to police a suspicious car wired with explosives driven by a man he knew to be a criminal. Most of his account could not be independently verified.

After three days of interrogations at one of Saddam's old palaces, he said he was taken to Abu Ghraib, put into a holding cell, and there a hood was placed over his head for what he thinks was about 16 hours.

"When they were torturing me, I lost consciousness," al-Radi said. "So, they removed the hood. One of the soldiers then urinated on me."

Then, the hood was put back on. And al-Radi was frog-marched to a cell on the ground floor of tier 1-A, known as the hard site.

"He then started pushing me," al-Radi said. "And wherever he saw a wall, he would hit me against it. Wherever there's a door, he would push me and hit me against it."

‘God Will Not Accept This’

Once in his cell, al-Radi said, he was forced, still hooded, down on his hands and knees.

"He pulled the bag off my head, and I saw something I have never seen in my life: A man's buttocks were facing me, and he was completely naked, [and] so were the others with him," al-Radi said. "I'm 29 years old. Since I'm mature, around the age of 13 to 14 years, until today, no one has ever seen me naked. Nor have I seen anyone naked at all.

"I am religious," he added. "My religion does not allow me to see the private parts of naked bodies of others. And for others to see my naked body, this is haram, forbidden for me. God will not accept this.

"They stripped me naked," al-Radi said. "They made me stand on a box used for storing soldier food, I think it's called MREs. I was completely naked with two bags on my head."

Al-Radi mostly blamed two American soldiers, Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick and Cpl. Charles Graner, both of whom are now facing military charges, for the alleged rough treatment.

According to al-Radi, Frederick, "threatened me by saying that if I did not cooperate with them by giving them information, they would make the soldier rape me."

‘I Have No Future’

What was done to him has had a terrible effect, he said. He had become engaged to be married just four days before he was arrested, but broke it off immediately after he was released from prison.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...