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More Than 100 Children Imprisoned

Report Of Abuse By U.S. Soldiers

07/04/04 "Der Spiegel" -- (Translated by SAB, NY) -- According to information from the International Red Cross, more than a 100 children are imprisoned in Iraq, including in the infamous prison Abu Ghraib.

The German TV magazine "Report" revealed that there has been abuse of children and youth by the coalition forces.

Mainz - "Between January and May of this year we've registered 107 children, during 19 visits in 6 different detention locations" the representative of the International Red Cross, Florian Westphal, told the TV station SWR's Magazine "Report Mainz". He noted that these were places of detention controlled by coalition troops. According to Westphal the number of children held captive could be even higher.

The TV Magazine also reported of evidence and eye witness reports according to which U.S. soldiers also abused children and youthful detainees. Samuel Provance, a staff sergeant stationed in the now infamous Abu Ghraib prison said that interrogating officers had pressured a 15 or 16 year old girl. Military police had only intervened when the girl was already half undressed. On another occasion, a 16 year old was soaked with water, driven through the cold, and then smeared with mud.

UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, confirmed the detention of Iraqi children by foreign military according to "Report" which cited an interim memorandum by the organization, The as yet unreleased report, which is dated June 2004, is quoted as follows: "Children who were detained in the cities of Kerbala and Basra because of alleged activities against the occupying forces were reportedly routinely sent to a detention camp at Umm Kasr. The classification of these children as detainees is worrisome because it includes unspecified length of detention without contact to their families pending further proceedings or legal actions".

The German section of the human rights organization Amnesty International is demanding a clarification of the allegations and a response from the US government.

SPIEGEL ONLINE 2004

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