US guards shoot dead 4 in iraq prisons
Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)
US guards shoot dead 4 in Iraq prison
BAGHDAD: US troops in Iraq shot dead four detainees on Monday during a riot at the main US prison camp for guerrilla suspects, near the Kuwaiti border while a final vote count cast began on Tuesday at the national centre for the Iraqi elections. The final results were not expected for at least another week, the independent electoral commission announced.
US officers said six prisoners were also wounded in the violence, which affected hundreds of men at Camp Bucca on the day after Iraqis voted in their first free election in decades. There were no serious injuries among the Americans during 45 minutes of rioting, Lt Col Barry Johnson said. Troops shot the four dead with rifles after failing to quell rock-throwing rioters with plastic pellets fired from shotguns.
“We’re not sure exactly what sparked it. There’s no obvious connection with the election. We’re not sure if that had anything to do with it,” Johnson, a spokesman for the US military detentions operation in Iraq, said.
It was not the first time US soldiers have fired on Iraqi prisoners — a riot at Baghdadd’s Abu Ghraib prison in November 2003 left three detainees dead. And officers have reported unrest in Camp Bucca’s razor wire compounds in recent months. But the extent of the violence appeared to have taken troops — recently arrived military police reservists — by surprise and may raise questions about the expansion of the desert camp, which has taken over from Abu Ghraib as the main US prison in Iraq following last yearar’s abuse scandal at the Baghdad jail.
Iraq’s human rights minister said on Tuesday that US guards should be put on trial if found to have used excessive force to quell the riot. Bakhtiar Amin said he believed two US troops had opened fire on rioters but he did not know why. His ministry had sent a delegation to the camp in southern Iraq to investigate. “If there is a mistake, then those in charge should be brought to account,” Amin said.
“If we are convinced there was no justification for the degree of force used then we want them to be tried,” he added. “That is what the American side says as well.”
Separately, the independent electoral commission said the final results of the vote count were not expected for at least another week.
“Counting started at 8:00am in the presence of observers and journalists,” said Adel Lami, a senior member of the commission.
An initial count started at each polling station after the landmark vote finished on Sunday. Ballots and preliminary results were sent to the commission’s national office in Baghdad for the final count.
“Ballots and results are arriving gradually at the national centre,” said Lami.
More than 200 commission workers will work round the clock to count the ballots, with final results expected within a week. “Details on the count will be announced at each stage up to the final result,” said Lami. agencies