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Abu Ghraib abuse violated international law, says Red Cross

[JURIST] Recently released photographs and video showing the apparent abuse of prisoners by US personnel at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] show clear violations of international humanitarian law, a spokeswoman for International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] said Thursday. The previously unpublished images [JURIST report], shown on Australian television [program transcript] Wednesday, were taken around the same time as the Abu Ghraib photographs made public in 2004 and depict blood-soaked prisoners who appear to have been tortured. The Pentagon has confirmed [AFP report] that the new images match those uncovered during the 2004 investigation, according to a Defense Department official. The Red Cross has previously criticized US practices at Abu Ghraib, saying that in some instances the abuse of Iraqi prisoners was "tantamount to torture" [ICRC report, PDF; JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari [BBC profile] has condemned the abuse [AFP report] shown in the new photos, but said that those involved had already been punished. The original Abu Ghraib photographs led to the jailing of several US soldiers including Charles Graner [JURIST report], who appears in some of the new images, and Lynndie England [JURIST news archive]. Iraq's human rights minister, however, has called for US-led forces in Iraq to turn over all Iraqi inmates held in US-managed prisons [Reuters report]. Meanwhile, in Australia, the producer of SBS television's Dateline program defended the decision to broadcast the photographs [AFP report] and videos. Mike Carey dismissed criticism from the Pentagon that the pictures could increase the danger to American soldiers, saying that his team, as journalists, had a responsibility to air the images. The Sydney Morning Herald has local coverage.

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