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U.S. Bans Coercive Interrogation Practices


05-15-04 Keavin
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The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, has banned the most coercive interrogation tactics used against prisoners in Iraq. Banned practices include sleep deprivation and forcing prisoners to crouch for long periods. The new bans only apply to prisoners in Iraq, and come after weeks of criticism over the treatment of prisoners after photos leaked of soldiers abusing Iraqi captives. 

The Pentagon said on Friday that the ban went into effect Thursday, and that Gen Sanchez would not approve any request to employ such tactics.  "Simply, we will not even entertain a request, so don't even send it up for a review," a senior Central Command official said during a press briefing on Friday at the Pentagon.

The official said that Gen. Sanchez would only consider request from interrogators to employ less severe practices like placing prisoners in isolation for more than 30 days; a tactic that Lt. Gen Sanchez has reportedly approved 25 times since October. 

In related news, a fourth U.S. soldier, who was fingered as alleged ringleader of the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison, will face court-martial on seven charges. 

Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr., 35, of Uniontown, Pa., will be court-martialed on charges including dereliction of duty, failing to protect detainees from abuse and cruelty, committing an indecent act, obstruction of justice, assault, and an adultery charge stemming from an alleged relationship with another guard charged in connection with the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. 

Before being called up for active duty in Iraq, Graner was fired, for unknown reasons, as a corrections officer for State Correctional Institution Greene, a maximum-security prison in Pennsylvania. 

With the addition of Graner, four soldiers have now been charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners and charges against three more soldiers are expected soon. 

One of the soldiers charged, Specialist Jeremy Sivits, says that Graner was the ringleader of the abuse. He discounted the claims that the orders for the abuse came from higher up the chain of command, "If they saw what was going on, there would have been hell to pay," Sivits says in two legal statements released to the press.

Sivits is expected to plea guilty next week in accordance with plea agreement he made with prosecutors. 
 
 

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