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U.S. Military Reprimands Soldiers for Alleged Iraqi Prisoner Abuse

BY Admin  May 3, 2004 at 2:00 PM EST

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top officer in Iraq, ordered the reprimand. The commander in charge of the military police at the American prison, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, was admonished before the investigation, according to her attorney, Neal Puckett.

Karpinski, however, “blamed the actions on military intelligence.”

“My MPs in all of my facilities knew the right things to do,” Karpinski said on ABC’s Good Morning America. “This was not an MP issue. This was an interrogation issue, and that was not run by my command.”

The coalition’s military spokesman, Brig, Gen. Mark Kimmitt, said that military intelligence was not responsible for “individual acts of criminal behavior,” CNN reported.

President Bush said Friday that he was disgusted by the treatment of Iraqi prisoners, after pictures showing some of the allegations against U.S. soldiers were shown by 60 Minutes II.

“I shared a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated,” the president said in the White House Rose Garden after he met with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

In the photos, U.S. troops appeared smiling as naked Iraqi prisoners were positioned to simulate sex acts with each other.

Another heavily circulated picture showed a hooded Iraqi prisoner standing on a box with his head covered and wires attached to his hands, the BBC reported.

An investigation began in January when a soldier reported the abuse to superiors, Kimmitt said last week.

Military officials said that 17 troops were relieved of duty in February, pending an investigation into abuse.

Meanwhile, Thomas Hamill, an American contractor who was kidnapped April 9, escaped from his captors on Sunday when he opened the doors to the house he was being held in and ran a half-mile to a U.S. military convoy who were in the northern city of Tikrit. Members of the convoy said Hamill removed his shirt, waved it and shouted “I’m an American,” as he ran toward them.

Hamill, who was working as a truck driver for a Halliburton subsidiary, is now at a German military hospital. He did not say if he was tortured, but he suffered a gunshot wound, the Associated Press reported.

“He sounded wonderful, so wonderful. He said he was fine,” Hamill’s wife, Kellie Hamill, told the Associated Press. “He said he was more worried about his mom, his grandmother, me and our kids. The first thing he said to me was, ‘How are you doing?’”

On Monday, an American soldier was killed in Baghdad, while U.S. troops in Najaf faced the most intense fighting there to date. American troops returned fire, killing roughly 20 Iraqi fighters, according to U.S. commander, Lt. Col. Pat White.

The soldier killed in Baghdad was guarding a weapons cache when insurgents opened fire. Two others were injured in the attack.

Over the weekend, 11 U.S. service members were killed in four separate incidents. One soldier and five sailors were killed when insurgents fired mortars inside a base in Ramadi on Sunday, according to the AP.

Also Sunday, militants killed two soldiers in northwest Baghdad and another in the northern oil city of Kirkuk.

Two other soldiers were killed Saturday in a roadside bomb and convoy attack south of Qayyarah, a city in northern Iraq.