Abu Ghraib ‘under Iraqi control’

Trade Arabia, September 2 – Iraq has regained control of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, known for a prisoner abuse scandal involving US troops, government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh said.

‘Yesterday, Abu Ghraib prison was handed over by US forces,’ Al Dabbagh told a news conference. ‘It is now empty of any detainee or prisoner.’

‘Now the prison is protected by Iraqi forces and the Iraqi government will look into how to benefit from it in the national interest,’ he added.

The prison in western Baghdad was a torture centre under former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Photographs of American soldiers abusing Iraqis there in 2003 gave it a new notoriety and made it a touchstone for Arab and Muslim rage over the US occupation.

The conviction of several low-ranking US soldiers for abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 — secured after photographs taken by the soldiers were made public — failed to end anger among many Iraqis about the treatment of detainees.

A US military spokesman said they held around 13,000 detainees, mostly in southern Iraq’s Camp Bucca facility and Camp Cropper near Baghdad International Airport where Saddam Hussein and his former aides are held.