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11:55

Iraq: Former Abu Ghraib detainees recall days of torture on 15 anniv. US Iraqi invasion

March 20, 2018 at 08:15 GMT +00:00 · Published

Former prisoners recalled days of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison (also known as the Baghdad Central Prison) on the 15th anniversary of the start of the 2003 US military intervention in Iraq, when speaking from Berlin and Baghdad.

Former Abu Ghraib detainee Ali Al Qasi, who had fled to Berlin through Jordan, said that "every person who had been detained was subjected to violations, torture, sexual abuse, humiliation, rape, and lots of other bad things."

Al Qasi argued that "what we saw, what we have been through. I think what happened in Iraq was a huge mistake. It crushed our psyches." He went on to say that "if only one percent of what is spent on war is spent on this centre [to rehabilitate detainees physically and psychologically], there wouldn't be terrorism in Iraq."

Former Abu Ghraib prisoner Emad Al-Lamy was reportedly arrested when he was leaving a mosque and held in custody for a number of years despite proven innocence. Al-Lamy recalled, "When the Americans came in, with their tanks and everything, we thought they would rid us of this unjust regime. Everyone would have his home, his car, just like good Arab countries, or the West even. But it turned out to be the opposite. They were evil killers of Muslims and everyone." He added, "The world's top criminal is the United States. We realised we had misunderstood it."

On March 20, 2003, a US-led military intervention in Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein began, which the US dubbed 'Operation Iraqi Freedom.' On May 1, then US President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat operations, while the US did not formally withdraw all combat troops from Iraq until December 2011.

Abu Ghraib prison facility was located some 32 kilometres (19,8 miles) west of Baghdad. Following the start of the US military intervention in Iraq in 2003, the facility was also used by the US-led forces. The US transferred control of the facility to the Iraqi government in 2006. The prison was closed down by Iraqi authorities in 2014 amid concerns that the facility could be seized by Sunni insurgents that controlled large areas in Anbar Province.

Eleven low-level US soldiers were convicted relating to the Abu Ghraib scandal.

11:55
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Description

Former prisoners recalled days of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison (also known as the Baghdad Central Prison) on the 15th anniversary of the start of the 2003 US military intervention in Iraq, when speaking from Berlin and Baghdad.

Former Abu Ghraib detainee Ali Al Qasi, who had fled to Berlin through Jordan, said that "every person who had been detained was subjected to violations, torture, sexual abuse, humiliation, rape, and lots of other bad things."

Al Qasi argued that "what we saw, what we have been through. I think what happened in Iraq was a huge mistake. It crushed our psyches." He went on to say that "if only one percent of what is spent on war is spent on this centre [to rehabilitate detainees physically and psychologically], there wouldn't be terrorism in Iraq."

Former Abu Ghraib prisoner Emad Al-Lamy was reportedly arrested when he was leaving a mosque and held in custody for a number of years despite proven innocence. Al-Lamy recalled, "When the Americans came in, with their tanks and everything, we thought they would rid us of this unjust regime. Everyone would have his home, his car, just like good Arab countries, or the West even. But it turned out to be the opposite. They were evil killers of Muslims and everyone." He added, "The world's top criminal is the United States. We realised we had misunderstood it."

On March 20, 2003, a US-led military intervention in Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein began, which the US dubbed 'Operation Iraqi Freedom.' On May 1, then US President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat operations, while the US did not formally withdraw all combat troops from Iraq until December 2011.

Abu Ghraib prison facility was located some 32 kilometres (19,8 miles) west of Baghdad. Following the start of the US military intervention in Iraq in 2003, the facility was also used by the US-led forces. The US transferred control of the facility to the Iraqi government in 2006. The prison was closed down by Iraqi authorities in 2014 amid concerns that the facility could be seized by Sunni insurgents that controlled large areas in Anbar Province.

Eleven low-level US soldiers were convicted relating to the Abu Ghraib scandal.

M/S Former detainee at Abu Ghraib prison Ali Al Qasi walking in street where he lives in Berlin

W/S Al Qasi walking in street where he lives in Berlin

C/U Al Qasi opening door

M/S Al Qasi entering building

W/S Al Qasi in his kitchen

C/U Al Qasi turning on gas

M/S Al Qasi preparing coffee

M/S Al Qasi preparing coffee

M/S Al Qasi preparing coffee

W/S Al Qasi preparing coffee

C/U Coffeemaker pot

SOT, Ali Al Qasi, Former Abu Ghraib detainee (Arabic) "I was detained on October 13, 2003, and my serial number was 151716 - this is a number I can never forget."

M/S Al Qasi

SOT, Ali Al Qasi, Former Abu Ghraib detainee (Arabic): "As soon as one enters, they hang them on the metal door of the cell, and then they proceed with electrocution, urination, entering the barrel of a shotgun inside one's sensitive areas. The broomstick, a broken broomstick, and entering it inside one's sensitive body parts, it causes bleeding, surgical operations later."

M/S Darts

SOT, Ali Al Qasi, Former Abu Ghraib detainee (Arabic): "Every person who had been detained was subjected to violations, torture, sexual abuse, humiliation, rape, and lots of other bad things."

M/S Al Qasi

SOT, Ali Al Qasi, Former Abu Ghraib detainee (Arabic): "I saw a child; they raped him in front of his father. These interrogators by the contractors, they committed horrible crimes. I can never forget the electrocution too. It almost felt as though fire would come out of my eyes. I don't know. It's something you can't forget." *NO CUTAWAY AT SOURCE*

SOT, Ali Al Qasi, Former Abu Ghraib detainee (Arabic): "[I have] nightmares and suffering, physically and psychologically, as if it was yesterday. I believe that in all of those years, I just work night and day in order to alleviate [the pain] on myself and other detainees. What we saw, what we have been through. I think what happened in Iraq was a huge mistake. It crushed our psyches. Till today, I cannot have a bathtub in my bathroom. Because then I remember the water boarding."

M/S Picture of Al Qasi hanging on wall

SOT, Ali Al Qasi, Former Abu Ghraib detainee (Arabic): "Torture results in physical pain that can be overcome by treatment, surgical operations, and the rest of it. But there are deep wounds in the psyche that are impossible to forget, no matter how much time passes."

C/U Al Qasi leaving prison

M/S Al Qasi leaving prison

W/S Al Qasi using computer

C/U Al Qasi using computer

M/S Al Qasi pictures in prison

C/U Al Qasi pictures in prison

W/S Abu Ghraib's prison walls

M/S Sign reading: "Abu Ghraib"

W/S Abu Ghraib municipality

M/S Abu Ghraib municipality

M/S Checkpoint at Abu Ghaib municipality

W/S Former Abu Ghraib detainee Emad Al-Lamy entering house

M/S Al-Lamy

SOT, Emad Al-Lamy, Former Abu Ghraib detainee (Arabic): "I was innocent. I hadn't done anything, so they would beat me. And on my back, I was beaten on my shoulder. Here, these two, they were broken. As for clothes, they had stripped us from clothes." *MULTIPLE SHOTS AT SOURCE*

M/S Al-Lamy

SOT, Emad Al-Lamy, Former Abu Ghraib detainee (Arabic): "Right after I was released, whenever I would see them [Americans] on the main street, I would feel afraid to go back to that place, or experience the same torture again. I developed this psychological condition. If they were walking on that street, I would feel scared. I cannot sleep. I stay up remembering the days of prison and torture." *MULTIPLE SHOTS AT SOURCE*

M/S Prayer carpet

W/S Al-Lamy and former Abu Ghraib detainee Anwer Al-Sudani talking

C/U Wall details

SOT, Anwer Al-Sudani, Former Abu Ghraib detainee (Arabic): "I saw someone get killed, right with my own eyes. And old man, asked for help. He said he was sick. The US soldier told him to go, so he said he couldn't, so the soldier pushed him. So the man said please, please, so the soldier pushed him again, he fell on the floor and died. He died on the spot. I saw this with my own eyes."

M/S Quran book

M/S Quran book on table

SOT, Anwer Al-Sudani, Former Abu Ghraib prisoner (Arabic): "The effects of this that remained in my psyche until today, the time I spent in prison is equal to a lifetime." *NO CUTAWAY AT SOURCE*

SOT, Emad Al-Lamy, Former Abu Ghraib detainee (Arabic): "When the Americans came in, with their tanks and everything, we thought they would rid us of this unjust regime. Everyone would have his home, his car, just like good Arab countries, or the West even. But it turned out to be the opposite. They were evil killers of Muslims and everyone. The octopus of the world is American. The world's top criminal is the United States. We realised we had misunderstood it. They are not humans." *MULTIPLE SHOTS AT SOURCE*

W/S Tahrir Square in Baghdad

M/S Tahrir Square in Baghdad

W/S Tahrir Square in Baghdad

W/S Baghdad

W/S Tigris river in Baghdad

M/S Vendor in streets of Baghdad

M/S Street vendor in Baghdad

M/S Street vendor in Baghdad

W/S Street in Baghdad

M/S Market site in Baghdad

M/S Market site in Baghdad

M/S Market site in Baghdad

W/S Market site in Baghdad

W/S Market site in Baghdad

W/S Al Qasi in his home in Berlin

SOT, Ali Al Qasi, Former Abu Ghraib detainee (Arabic): "If only one percent of what is spent on war is spent on this centre [to rehabilitate detainees physically and psychologically], there wouldn't be terrorism in Iraq. We need a centre for rehabilitation of former detainees. Physically and psychologically, to help them cope with life, to get back their rights."

M/S Al Qasi photographs

M/S Al Qasi leaving his flat

W/S Al Qasi walking

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