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Guantanamo abuse taped, as 'explosive' as Abu Ghraib

AAP | March 21, 2005
By John Sheed

VIDEO footage of US military treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay will reveal many cases of substantial abuse as "explosive as anything from Abu Ghraib", a lawyer said today.

Adelaide lawyer Stephen Kenny, who represented Australian David Hicks during the early part of his detention at the military prison in Cuba, told a law conference today that 500 hours of videotape of prisoners at the US base existed.

The full story of abuse at Guantanamo Bay would not be told until the tapes were released, he said.

"I believe that these videos, if they are ever released, will be as explosive as anything from Abu Ghraib," Mr Kenny told the LawAsia Downunder conference.

Abu Ghraib is the prison outside Baghdad from where pictures emerged of US guards abusing prisoners while some of them were forced into humiliating, sexually suggestive poses.

The US military videotaped the actions of the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF) responsible for prisoner control at Guantanamo Bay, Mr kenny said.

Evidence of the violence used by the IRF came to light when a member of the US military, whom Mr Kenny identified as Specialist Baker, applied for a medical discharge after being involved in a training session.

"He was dressed in an orange jump suit and the IRF squad was instructed that he was a detainee who had abused a guard and was to be moved to another cell.

"What happened to him only came to light in Specialist Baker's later hearing for a medical discharge from the military for the brain damage he suffered in the beating he received at the hands of that trainee squad."

Mr Kenny told the conference the American Centre for Civil Liberties was pressing for the tapes to be released after a US journalist reported that a secret military review of 20 hours of the tapes had identified 10 substantial cases of abuse.

But the US administration was refusing to release the tapes because of "privacy concerns", Mr Kenny said.

Hicks, 29, from Adelaide, has been in US custody awaiting trial since being captured in Afghanistan in 2001.

He is accused of having links to al-Qaeda and is charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes, attempted murder and aiding the enemy.

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