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Iraqi Taken to Prison Camp For 'Not Showing His Papers at Checkpoint'

BBC | May 7 2004

One of the Iraqi men who says he was photographed in degrading poses by American prison guards in Abu Ghraib jail is unemployed father-of-five Haydar Sabbar Abed. He told his story to the BBC Arabic Service.

"I had hired a taxi and we were stopped at the main gate of Taji Camp in Baghdad which is under the control of the American troops.

They demanded to see my papers, but I didn't have any, so I was arrested and taken to the army headquarters in Fifth District and then to the detention camp at the airport.

I was told they would ask me a few questions and then I'd be released after a couple of days, but nothing happened for three days.

Then, at four in the morning on the third day they called out my number, 13077, and I was taken to Boqa camp in Basra where I thought I'd be tried in an Iraqi court.

But what have I done? I'm not a criminal. I've got five kids and my family didn't even know where I was.

Punished for beating

Then I was taken to Camp One in Abu Ghraib.

They tortured me after I had a fight with an Iraqi working in the camp who was having a relationship with a female soldier.

He was giving us a hard time and we had to beat him up.

So they started torturing us. They cut our clothes off with blades. We were stripped naked, even our underwear was cut off.

Then they ordered us to do things in front of a female soldier.

They told us to masturbate towards this female soldier. But we didn't agree to do it, so they beat us.

How could you do something like that in such circumstances. I was frightened, my whole body was shaking.

Then they put a bag on my head, and I pretended, I made movements like I was masturbating.

Broken jaw

They made us act like dogs, putting leashes around our necks and making us bark. They'd whistle and we'd have to bark like dogs.

They made us stand up and then climb on top of each other, one after the other.

They said they were going to kill us, but in the end they took the bags off our heads and I was surprised to see my friends around me.

They had beat me so hard that they broke my jawbone. Even now I can't eat properly

Later a team of American intelligence officers came to see us.

They asked us what had happened and I told them exactly what I've just told you.

I was taken to court, but on 15 April I was released."