|Location||Abu Ghraib, Iraq|
Abu Ghraib prison (Arabic : سجن أبو غريب, Sijn Abū Ghurayb) was a prison complex in Abu Ghraib, Iraq, located 32 kilometers (20 mi) west of Baghdad. Abu Ghraib prison was opened in the 1950s and served as a maximum-security prison with torture, weekly executions, and squalid living conditions. From the 1980s, the prison was used by Saddam Hussein and later the United States to hold political prisoners. It developed a reputation for torture and extrajudicial killing, and was closed in 2014.
Abu Ghraib gained international attention in 2003 following the invasion of Iraq, when a scandal involving the torture and abuse of detainees committed by guards in part of the complex operated by US-led Coalition occupation forces was exposed. Israeli interrogators were in Iraq, alongside the Coalition, because they spoke Arabic.
In 2006, the United States transferred complete control of Abu Ghraib to the Federal government of Iraq, and was reopened in 2009 as Baghdad Central Prison (Arabic: سجن بغداد المركزي Sijn Baġdād al-Markizī) but was closed in 2014 due to security concerns from the Iraqi Civil War. The prison complex is currently vacant, and Saddam-era mass graves have been uncovered at the site.
The prison was built by British contractors in the 1950s. The prison held as many as 15,000 inmates in 2001. [ citation needed ] After the prisoners were released and the prison was left empty, it was vandalized and looted.[ citation needed ] Almost all of the documents relating to prisoners were piled and burnt inside of prison offices and cells, leading to extensive structural damage.In 2002, Saddam Hussein's government began an expansion project to add six new cellblocks to the prison. In October 2002, he gave amnesty to most prisoners in Iraq.
Known mass-graves related to Abu Ghraib include:
From 2003 until August 2006, Abu Ghraib prison was used for detention purposes by both the U.S.-led coalition occupying Iraq and the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government has controlled the area of the facility known as "The Hard Site". The prison was used to house only convicted criminals. Suspected criminals, insurgents or those arrested and awaiting trial were held at other facilities, commonly known as "camps" in U.S. military parlance. The U.S. housed all its detainees at "Camp Redemption", which is divided into five security levels. This camp built in the summer of 2004 replaced the three-level setup of Camp Ganci, Camp Vigilant and Abu Ghraib's Tier 1. The remainder of the facility was occupied by the U.S. military.[ citation needed ]
Abu Ghraib served as both a FOB (Forward Operating Base) and a detention facility. When the U.S. military was using the Abu Ghraib prison as a detention facility, it housed approximately 7,490 prisoners there in March 2004. [ citation needed ]Later population of detainees was much smaller, because Camp Redemption had a much smaller capacity than Camp Ganci had, and many detainees have been sent from Abu Ghraib to Camp Bucca for this reason. The U.S. military initially held all "persons of interest" in Camp Redemption. Some were suspected rebels, and some suspected criminals. Those convicted by trial in Iraqi court are transferred to the Iraqi-run Hard Site.
In the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal, reserve soldiers from the 327th Military Police battalion were charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with prisoner abuse, beginning with an Army Criminal Investigation Division investigation on January 14, 2004. In April 2004, U.S. television news-magazine 60 Minutes reported on a story from the magazine The New Yorker , which recounted torture and humiliation of Iraqi detainees by U.S. soldiers and contracted civilians. The story included photographs depicting the abuse of prisoners. The events created a substantial political scandal within the U.S. and other coalition countries.
On April 20, 2004, insurgents fired 40 mortar rounds into the prison, killing 24 detainees and injuring 92. Commentators thought the attack was either an attempt to incite a riot or retribution for detainees' cooperating with the United States. [ citation needed ] The U.S. military released nearly 1,000 detainees at the prison during the week ending August 27, 2005, at the request of the Iraqi government. In a May 24, 2004 address at the U.S. Army War College, President George W. Bush announced that the prison would be demolished. On June 14 Iraqi interim President Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer said he opposed this decision[ citation needed ]; on June 21 U.S. military judge Col. James Pohl ruled the prison was a crime scene and could not be demolished until investigations and trials were completed.In May 2004, the U.S.-led coalition embarked on a prisoner-release policy to reduce numbers to fewer than 2,000.
On April 2, 2005,the prison was attacked by more than 60 insurgents in the engagement known as the Battle of Abu Ghraib. In the two hours before being forced to retreat, the attackers suffered at least 50 casualties according to the U.S. military. Thirty-six persons at or in the prison, including U.S. military personnel, civilians and detainees, were injured in the attack. The attackers used small arms, rockets, and RPGs as weapons, and threw grenades over the walls. A suicide VBIED detonated just outside the front wall after Marines fired on it. Officials believe that the car bomb was intended to breach the prison wall, enabling an assault and/or mass escape for detainees. Insurgents also attacked military forces nearby on highways en route to the prison for reinforcement and used ambushes along the roads. Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility.
In March 2006, the U.S. military decided to transfer the 4,500 inmates to other prisons and transfer control of the Abu Ghraib prison to Iraqi authorities.The prison was reported emptied of prisoners in August 2006. The formal transfer was made on September 2, 2006. The formal transfer was conducted between Major General Jack Gardner, Commander of Task Force 134, and representatives of the Iraqi Ministry of Justice and the Iraqi Army.
In February 2009, Iraq reopened Abu Ghraib under the new name of Baghdad Central Prison. It was designed to house 3,500 inmates. The government said it planned to increase the number up to 15,000 prisoners by the end of the year.
A major prison break occurred on July 21, 2013, and media outlets reported a mass breakout of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Reportedly, at least 500 prisoners escaped. A senior member of the security and defense committee in parliament described the prisoners as mostly those who were "convicted senior members of al-Qaeda and had received death sentences."A simultaneous attack occurred at another prison, in Taji, around 12 miles north of Baghdad, where 16 members of the Iraqi security forces and six militants were killed. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) issued a statement on a jihadist forum claiming that they were responsible for organising and executing the prison break, which had taken months of preparation, and claimed that the attacks involved 12 car bombs, suicide bombers and a barrage of mortars and rockets. They also claimed that they killed more than 120 government troops, though the Iraqi authorities claimed that 25 members of the security forces were killed, along with 21 prisoners and at least 10 militants.
On April 15, 2014 the Iraqi Justice Ministry announced that it had closed the prison amid fear that it could be taken over by ISIL, which controlled much of Anbar Province at the time. All 2,400 inmates were moved to other high-security facilities in the country. It was not made clear if the closure is temporary or permanent.
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The following is a timeline of major events during the Iraq War, following the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Janis Leigh Karpinski is a retired career officer in the United States Army Reserve. She is notable for having commanded the forces that operated Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, at the time of the scandal related to torture and prisoner abuse. She commanded three prisons in Iraq and the forces that ran them. Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and secondary education from Kean College, a Master of Arts degree in aviation management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a Master of Arts in strategic studies from the United States Army War College.
Abu Ghraib is a city in the Baghdad Governorate of Iraq, located just west of Baghdad's city center, or northwest of Baghdad International Airport. It has a population of 189,000 (2003). The old road to Jordan passes through Abu Ghraib. The government of Iraq created the city and Abu Ghraib District in 1944.
Charles A. Graner Jr. is a war criminal and former member of the U.S. Army reserve who was convicted of prisoner abuse in connection with the 2003–2004 Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. Graner, with other soldiers from his unit, the 372d Military Police Company, were accused of allowing and inflicting sexual, physical, and psychological abuse on Iraqi prisoners of war in Abu Ghraib prison, a notorious prison in Baghdad during the United States' occupation of Iraq.
Megan M. Ambuhl Graner is a war criminal and former United States Army reservist and member of the 372nd Military Police Company who was convicted in court-martial in connection with the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse.
Camp Bucca was a Forward Operating Base that housed a theater internment facility maintained by the United States military in the vicinity of Umm Qasr, Iraq. After being taken over by the U.S. military in April 2003, it was renamed after Ronald Bucca, a NYC fire marshal who died in the 11 September 2001 attacks. The site where Camp Bucca was built had earlier housed the tallest structure in Iraq, a 492-meter-high TV mast.
During the early stages of the Iraq War, members of the United States Army and the CIA committed a series of human rights violations and war crimes against detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, including physical and sexual abuse, torture, rape, sodomy, and murder. The abuses came to public attention with the publication of photographs of the abuse by CBS News in April 2004. The incidents caused shock and outrage, receiving widespread condemnation within the United States and internationally.
About six months after the United States invasion of Iraq of 2003, rumors of Iraq prison abuse scandals started to emerge.
Camp Cropper was a holding facility for security detainees operated by the United States Army near Baghdad International Airport in Iraq. The facility was initially operated as a high-value detention site (HVD), but has since been expanded increasing its capacity from 163 to 2,000 detainees. Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was held there prior to his execution.
Geoffrey D. Miller is a retired United States Army major general who commanded the US detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Iraq. Detention facilities in Iraq under his command included Abu Ghraib prison, Camp Cropper, and Camp Bucca. He is noted for having trained soldiers in using torture, or "enhanced interrogation techniques" in US euphemism, and for carrying out the "First Special Interrogation Plan," signed by the Secretary of Defense, against a Guantanamo detainee.
Manadel al-Jamadi was an Iraqi national who was tortured to death in United States custody during a CIA interrogation at Abu Ghraib Prison on November 4, 2003. His name became known in 2004 when the Abu Ghraib scandal made headlines; his corpse packed in ice was the background for widely reprinted photographs of grinning U.S. Army specialists Sabrina Harman and Charles Graner each offering a "thumbs-up" gesture. Al-Jamadi had been a suspect in a bomb attack that killed 12 people in a Baghdad Red Cross facility.
The Battle of Abu Ghraib was a battle between Iraqi insurgents and United States forces at Abu Ghraib prison on April 2, 2005.
The Fay Report, officially titled Investigation of Intelligence Activities at Abu Ghraib, was a military investigation into the torture and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. It was sparked by leaked images of Iraqi prisoners, hooded and naked, being mistreated obtained by the United States and global media in April 2004. The Fay Report was one of five such investigations ordered by the military and was the third to be submitted, as it was completed and released on August 25, 2004. Prior to the report's release, seven reservist military police had already been charged for their roles in the abuse at the prison, and so the report examined the role of military intelligence, specifically the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade that was responsible for the interrogation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. General Paul J. Kern was the appointing authority for the report and oversaw the investigation. The chief investigators were Major General George Fay, whom the report is named after, and Lieutenant General Anthony R. Jones.
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, also referred to as Guantánamo, GTMO, and "Gitmo", which is on the coast of Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. As of January 2021, 731 of the 780 people detained were transferred, 40 remain and 9 died while in custody.
Task Force 6–26 is a United States Joint military/Government Agency, originally set-up to find "High Value Targets" (HVT's) in Iraq in the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This Special Operations unit is very similar to Task Force 121 which was created to capture Saddam Hussein and high-ranking Al-Qaeda members. The name keeps changing for Operational Security reasons. The main objective of Task Force 6–26 was the capture or liquidation of terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who led Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The unit is made up of U.S. Special Operations Forces members including Delta Force, DEVGRU, 24th Special Tactics Squadron and the 75th Ranger Regiment along with the CIA's Special Activities Division. Other military and DIA personnel are believed to have been involved as 'limited' members of the unit, along with FBI agents.
Camp Nama was a military base in Baghdad, Iraq, originally built by the government of Saddam Hussein, from which its name derives, and now used by Iraqi military forces. Purportedly, the original Iraqi name has been repurposed by U.S. personnel involved with the facility as a backronym standing for "Nasty Ass Military Area".
The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 Iraqis were killed in the first three to four years of conflict. US troops were officially withdrawn in 2011. The U.S. became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition; the insurgency and many dimensions of the armed conflict continue. The invasion occurred as part of the George W. Bush administration's War on Terror following the September 11 attacks despite no connection of the latter to Iraq.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, born Ahmad Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh, was a Jordanian jihadist who ran a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. He became known after going to Iraq and being responsible for a series of bombings, beheadings, and attacks during the Iraq War, reportedly "turning an insurgency against US troops" in Iraq "into a Shia–Sunni civil war". He was sometimes known by his supporters as the "Sheikh of the slaughterers".
Emad Khudhayir Shahuth al-Janabi was an Iraqi blacksmith detained in Abu Ghraib prison where he alleges he was abused by American military personnel and defense contractors.
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Abu Ghraib prison[...]'s 4,500 inmates will be transferred to a new facility at the nearby Baghdad airport military base and other camps. [...] Abu Ghraib, where US soldiers abused Iraqi detainees, will be handed over to Iraqi authorities once the prisoner transfer to Camp Cropper and other US military prisons in the country is finished.