U.S. appeals court orders release of Iraq abuse photos

Tuesday, Sept 23, 2008

NEW YORK - A federal appeals court Monday ordered the release of 29 photographs it said depicted prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, which rights groups say prove abuse was widespread.

The pictures, which have never been made public and are part of U.S. Army investigative files, were first ordered released, with redaction, in 2006 by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein after he reviewed them and ruled they were of critical public interest.

Their release was held up while the U.S. Department of Defense appealed, arguing the release would endanger U.S. soldiers and result in an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the detainees they depict.

On Monday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals turned aside those objections.

The 21 pictures were taken at multiple locations by individuals serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the photographs, the detainees "were clothed and generally not forced to pose," the ruling said.

"The photographs depict abusive treatment of detainees by United States soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan," the ruling said.

The order to release the images is part of a Freedom of Information Act suit filed in 2003 by civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, over treatment of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

The ACLU said in a statement that the release of the pictures would help deter future abuse.

Full article here


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