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Army documents suggest US officials knew of detainee abuses before Abu Ghraib

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] on Tuesday released new US Army documents [document list] it obtained through a Freedom of Information Act action purportedly showing that officials had knowledge of reports of abuse at detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan [JURIST news archives] before photos from Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] first surfaced. Among the documents was an information paper [PDF text] titled "Allegations of Detainee Abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan," which was written in early April 2004 and details 62 investigations into alleged detainee abuse and deaths. ACLU officials said the document showed that US officials knew of widespread abuse, despite claims that the Abu Ghraib scandal was ostensibly limited to a few individuals.

The ACLU also said that another document [PDF text] implicates Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez [official profile, PDF] in authorizing abusive interrogation of detainees in Iraq. According to the Defense Intelligence Agency [official website] record, an Army officer reported that Sanchez had ordered interrogators to, as the officer put it, "go to the outer limits" in obtaining information from detainees. The ACLU has previously said [JURIST report] that Army documents show Sanchez authorized abusive interrogation tactics. The ACLU has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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