Red Cross Demands Investigation of Iraqi Prison Riot

The Red Cross is demanding an investigation into last week's prison riot at Camp Bucca in Southern Iraq.

The US military announced early today that 12 Iraqi prisoners and four US prison guards were wounded when inmates rioted at Camp Bucca last week, torching tents and hurling rocks in Iraq's largest US-run detention centre. The riot at the desert camp in southern Iraq, where more than 6000 prisoners are held, was first reported by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr's movement, and was confirmed by the ICRC.

The U.S. first claimed to have no knowledge of the riot, until the Red Cross released details. Then the U.S. provided this version of events:

The violence erupted when inmates "protested the transfer of unruly detainees to another compound", the military said. "During the disturbance, the detainees chanted, threw rocks and set several of their tents on fire. The disturbance was brought under control with only minor injuries to four guards and 12 detainees."

Members of the Red Cross who were visiting detainees at the time said guards shot rubber bullets and at least 14 prisoners were injured.

"The detainees complained about their conditions at the camp where they are living in the desert in tents where it is hot in the day and too cold at night," Ms Sidani said. "Many of the detainees complained they were not aware of the reasons for their internment or its duration. The Americans consider them 'security detainees'. There is no clear trial or legal process. In this climate, it takes one incident to ignite things."

Another view:

Sadr follower Saheb al-Ameri, secretary general of the Shahidallah charitable organisation, said the unrest was provoked by the refusal of prison authorities to give medical treatment to a detainee who had fallen sick and who was a member of the Sadr movement.

Other inmates became violent and US soldiers then fired rubber bullets and beat some prisoners, wounding 70 to 100 of them, he said, adding that since the riot, inmates have had no water or electricity.

There was another riot at Camp Bucca on January 31 that "ended with US soldiers firing into a crowd and killing four detainees." The U.S. is now holding more than 10,000 prisoners in Iraq.

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  • I wish it would do a little investigation into our own political prison system, but good for the Red Cross, but why didn't it do that when saddam was in power?

    Re: Red Cross Demands Investigation of Iraqi Pris (none / 0) (#2)
    by john horse on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 08:13:03 PM EST
    The US military claims that it has no knowledge of a riot at a prison that it operates until the Red Cross releases details. Talk about tripping over your own BS.

    Re: Red Cross Demands Investigation of Iraqi Pris (none / 0) (#3)
    by Sailor on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 11:46:25 AM EST
    Fred - the RC does investigate US prisons, and did their best (under cross or crescent) to inspect saddam's prisons. They don't generally make their results public, so you wouldn't have seen a report.