Skip to comments.U.S. Marines find alleged Iraq "torture centre"
Posted on 04/09/2003 8:34:57 AM PDT by kattracks
U.S. Marines find alleged Iraq "torture centre"
By Adrian Croft
NASSIRIYA, Iraq, April 9 (Reuters) - U.S. Marines said on Wednesday they had found photographs of burned bodies and a device to deliver electric shocks in what they suspect was a torture centre used by Saddam Hussein's security services.
Files, documents and identity cards litter the floor of the low building in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya. U.S. Marines who occupy the city believe it used to be an office of Saddam's Baath Party or of the Iraqi intelligence service.
The most sinister part of the building is a dark corner room without windows. The only chink of light enters through a gap around a fan.
Five small cells lead off this room and in one of them was a battery connected to an iron rod which Marine Captain Pete McAleer said was "probably a primitive torture device."
"It can definitely create a shock and who knows what they did with the iron rod that was electrified," McAleer told reporters.
A metal chair was found nearby, suggesting a kind of "electric chair," McAleer said.
The dark room "can't have been for good things," McAleer said, adding that it was a "reasonable assumption" that the building had been used as a torture centre.
Also in the building was a long wooden pole connected to loops of rope. U.S. Marines believe the loops may have been designed to fit over a person's neck and arms to prevent movement.
The corner room is now blackened by fire. Since U.S. Marines found the building, local people have entered it and, according to McAleer, deliberately set fire to the room. "I think they're trying to eradicate what was going on here," he said.
Lance-Corporal James Jeffreys, one of the first Marines to enter the building several days ago, said he had at first taken it to be a police sub-station.
But when he reached the dark cell at the rear of the building, he said: "It was obvious that the way they would treat the prisoners here isn't what you'd find in most police facilities around the world."
"We recovered photographs here that were on the floor in a pile that depicted bodies that had been burned. From the positions of the bodies, it appeared they may have been alive when they were ignited," Jeffreys, of Oxnard, California, said.
Reporters did not see the photographs that Jeffreys said he had handed to Marine officers.
He said there had been no one - alive or dead - in the building when the Marines first came upon it.
McAleer, of San Diego, California, said the files found in the building suggested the Iraqi security services kept tabs on a lot of people.
"(It's) just too much like Nazi Germany to me," he said.
No one had come forward to say they had been tortured at this particular building, McAleer said, but he said the Marines had met people in Nassiriya who said they had been mistreated.
One man had shown Marines lacerations on his chest and back he said he had suffered during 15 years in prison and another had given them a report on the Iraqi authorities' treatment of people, including torture, he said.
At a different location in southern Iraq last weekend, British troops found the dessicated remains of as many as 200 people in an abandoned warehouse along with catologs of grisly photographs of what could be torture victims.
It was not immediately clear how old the remains were but initial indications suggested the people might have died several years ago.
04/09/03 11:21 ET
Aren't these anti-war types also against the death penalty?
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