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Abu Ghraib Inmates Testify to Abuse and Torture

In Their Own Words: Iraqis Describe Their Ordeal


abu ghraib terror dogs

An Iraqi inmate at Abu Ghraib prison terrorized by dogs.

U.S. Army / Criminal Investigation Command (CID)
As part of its investigation of reported abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003, the Army's Criminal Investigation Command took sworn statements from many individuals formerly imprisoned at Abu Ghraib prison. The Washington Post obtained the testimonies and published them in 2004. The testimonies were reprinted in Mark Danner's book, Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror (New York Review of Books, 2004).

The most relevant testimonies are reproduced here as they originally appeared, reflecting the the former inmates' original syntax and wording as rendered by military translators.

The testimonies lend detailed, graphic explanations and some context for the scenes depicted in photographs of abuse and torture.

Sodomized With a Glow Stick
Testimony of Inmate Whose Name and Number Were Blacked Out by Military Investigators

A few days before they hit me on my ear, the American police, the guy who wears glasses, he put red woman’s underwear over my head. And then he tied me to the window that is in the cell with my hands behind my back until I lost consciousness. And also when I was in Room #1 they told me to lay down on my stomach and they were jumping from the bed onto my back and my legs. And the other two were spitting on me and calling me names, and they held my hands and legs. After the guy with the glasses got tired, two of the American soldiers brought me to the ground a tied my hands to the door while laying down on my stomach. One of the police was pissing on me and laughing on me. He then released my hands and I want and washed, and then the soldier came back into the room, and the soldier and his friend told me in a loud voice to lie down, so I did that. And then the policeman was opening my legs, with a bag over my head, and he sat down between my legs on his knees and I was looking at him from under the bag and they wanted to do me because I saw him and he was opening his pants, so I started screaming loudly and the other police starting hitting me with his feet on my neck and he put his feet on my head so I couldn’t scream. Then they left and the guy with the glasses comes back with another person and he took me out of the room and they put me inside the dark room again and they started beating me with the broom that was there. And then they put the loudspeaker inside the room and they closed the door and he was yelling in the microphone. Then they broke the glowing finger and spread it on me until I was glowing and they were laughing. They took me to the room and they signaled me to get on to the floor. And one of the police he put a part of his stick that he always carries inside my ass and I felt it going inside me about 2 centimeters, approximately. And I started screaming, and he pulled it out and he washed it with water inside the room. And the two American girls that were there when they were beating me, they were hitting me with a ball made of sponge on my dick. And when I was tied up in my room, one of the girls, with blonde hair, she is white, she was playing with my dick. I saw inside this facility a lot of punishment just like what they did to me and more. And they were taking pictures of me during all these instances.”

Allegation of Child Rape
Testimony of Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, Inmate #151108

They stripped me of all my clothes, even my underwear. They gave me woman’s underwear, that was rose color with flowers in it and they put the bag over my face. One of them whispered in my ear, “today I am going to fuck you,” and he said this in Arabic. Whoever was with me experienced the same thing. That’s what the American soldiers did, and they had a translator with them, named Abu Hamid and a female soldier, who’s skin was olive colored and this was on October 3 or 4, 2003 around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. When they took me to the cell, the translator Abu Hamid came with an American soldier and his rank was sergeant (I believe). And he called told me “faggot” because I was wearing the woman’s underwear, and my answer was “no.” Then he told me “why are you wearing this underwear,” then I told them “because you make me wear it.” […] They forced me to wear this underwear all the time, for 51 days. And most of the days I was wearing nothing else.

I faced more harsh punishment from Grainer. He cuffed my hands with irons behind my back to the metal of the window, to the point my feet were off the ground and I was hanging there, for about 5 hours just because I asked about the time, because I wanted to pray. And then they took all my clothes and he took the female underwear and he put it over my head. After he released me from the window, he tied me to my bed until before dawn. […]

They brought three prisoners completely naked and they tied them together with cuffs and they stuck one to another. I saw the American soldiers hitting them with a football and they were taking pictures. I saw Grainer punching one of the prisoners right in his face very hard when he refused to take off his underwear and I heard them begging for help. And also the American soldiers told to do like homosexuals (fucking). […]

I saw [name blacked out] fucking a kid, his age would be about 15-18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard the screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [name blacked out], who was wearing the military uniform putting his dick in the little kid’s ass. I couldn’t see the face of the kid because his face wasn’t in front of the door. And the female soldier was taking pictures. [Name blacked out], I think he is [name blacked out] because of his accent, and he was not skinny or short, and he acted like a homosexual (gay). And that was in cell #23 as best as I remember.

In the cell that is almost under it, on the North side, and I was right across from it on the other side. They put the sheets again on the doors. Grainer and his helper they cuffed one prisoner in Room #1, named [name blacked out], he was Iraqi citizen. They tied him to the bed and they were inserted the phosphoric light in his ass and he was yelling for God’s help.

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