AP, May 21, 2004
CAIRO -- An Arab television station showed two photographs of US soldiers smiling and flashing a thumbs up as they posed next to a corpse in a body bag, saying in today's broadcast that they were new pictures of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.
Al-Arabiya said the photos "surfaced during the investigation" and did not say how it obtained them. The US television network ABC had broadcast the same photos yesterday and identified the soldiers as two specialists who are facing charges in the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal, Sabrina Harman and Charles Graner Jr.
The Iraqi pictured died in the prison's showers while being interrogated by the CIA or other civilian agents, ABC reported. In Washington today, a US official said that the Justice Department was investigating the death in detention of the man, identified as Manadel al-Jamadi.
In an account published Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the victim had been brought to the prison with his head covered by an empty sandbag.
It said he died in the midst of intensive questioning in the shower by military intelligence officials.
After he collapsed, the interrogators removed the bag and then saw severe head wounds that had not been treated.
The new photographs were not as graphic as widely seen images of US soldiers sexually humiliating and otherwise abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
But the new photographs, particularly because they could be portrayed as showing Americans gloating over the death of an Arab, nonetheless were likely to spark more condemnation of the United States by Arabs already outraged by the prison abuse scandal and, more generally, by what they see as Washington's anti-Arab policies in the Middle East.
In the first court-martial linked to the case, Spc Jeremy C Sivits pleaded guilty yesterday to four counts of abuse of Iraqis and was sentenced to the maximum penalty of one year in prison, reduction in rank and a bad conduct discharge. But many Arabs questioned the fairness of the legal proceedings in Baghdad and said Sivits should have received a harsher sentence.
Earlier this month, US Defence Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld told members of Congress that the Iraq prison abuse scandal could worsen with the release of more images of brutality. A Senate aide said then that senators have been told videotapes are believed to exist showing rape and the corpses of what are possibly murder victims.
An international outcry about abuse at Abu Ghraib was set off when CBS aired photos from the prison on April 28. Months before that, the Red Cross had complained to the US military about treatment of prisoners in Iraq and an internal military investigation also had found problems.
During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Abu Ghraib in Washington yesterday, committee chairman Senator John Warner, a Virginia Republican, said the Pentagon had found a disk containing 24 photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib.
Assistant Defence Secretary Powell A Moore told Warner in a letter to Warner that 13 of the photos appear to have been already shown on international television and that the other 11 "may not be original or true photographs".