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Abu Ghraib

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abu ghraib prison

The notoriously brutal Abu Ghraib prison was originally built in 1970 to satisfy the sadism of Saddam Hussein's regime then used to brutal purposes by the American occupation. Instead of demolishing it, Iraq renovated it in 2009.

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Definition: Abu Ghraib, also known as Abū Ghurayb (or, in Arabic, أبو غريب‎) is a city of about 200,000 just west of Baghdad, near Baghdad International Airport. The city's geographic location in relation to Baghdad and the setting sun gave it its name, which means "Father of the West."

The city is best known in the West, however, for its notorious prison. Abu Ghraib prison was built by Saddam Hussein in 1970 as the central location of the tyrannous state's machinery of incarceration and torture. The prison was emptied in 2002 in a general amnesty ordered by Saddam Hussein, and many of its documents burned.

Rather than raze the prison when the city fell to American invaders in 2003, the American Coalition Provision Authority turned the reviled structure into the occupation's principal prison, thus ensuring continuity in Iraqis' hatreds for the prison's wardens.

The prison became synonymous with American abuse, torture and broken promises when CBS' "60 Minutes II" program aired photographs, taken by U.S. servicemen at Abu Ghraib in the fall of 2003, depicting numerous acts of abuse, humiliation and torture of Iraqi inmates, including juveniles. The photographs triggered a scandal in the United States and revulsion around the world, contrasting the Bush administration's claims of restoring civility and human rights to Iraq with irrefutably contrary evidence.

Abu Ghraib prison was turned over to Iraqi authorities in September 2006. It was refurbished, renamed Baghdad Central Prison and re-opened for incarceration in February 2009.

Also Known As: Baghdad Central Prison
Alternate Spellings: Abū Ghurayb
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