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Pentagon to Release New Prisoner Abuse Photos

The Pentagon Defense Department will release dozens of photographs depicting the abuse of prisoners at U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, reported the New York Times on Friday.

The pictures were first ordered by a federal judge in June 2006 to be released no later than May 28, said the Defense Department and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The controversial photographs show incidents in "at least seven different locations in Afghanistan and Iraq,” according to court records. (Wall Street Journal)

According to the New York Times, there were early reports that some of the new pictures showed detainees being intimidated by American soldiers, sometimes at gunpoint, although these reports could not be clarified.

The photographs follow in the wake of the 2004 Abu Ghraib debacle, which included the release of pictures depicting the mental, physical and sexual abuse of prisoners by American soldiers. The incident caused an immediate uproar and criticism of the U.S. military.

Although those soldiers who were involved in the Abu Ghraib case have since been punished, whether by demotion or termination of contract, members of the A.C.L.U. say that the new pictures need to be released.

“These photographs provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by U.S. personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib,” said Amrit Singh, an A.C.L.U. staff attorney. (New York Times)

Although the Wall Street Journal says that there are a total of 21 pictures, the New York Times reports that the exact number of new pictures is not known. Lev. L Dassin, the acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said that the Pentagon agreed to release 44 photographs involved in the case.

Amrit Singh said that the release of the pictures would make the need for independent investigations into the abuse of prisoners clearer, so that the “public can see for itself the offenses committed in its name.” (New York Times)