|Revealed: coalition forces imprison Iraqi children
By Neil Mackay
08/01/04 "Sunday Herald" -- BRITISH forces are arresting children in Iraq and handing them to US forces who interrogate and detain them indefinitely in prisons including the notorious Abu Ghraib.
A Sunday Herald investigation has uncovered an internal Unicef report written in June that reveals that children in Basra, which is controlled by UK forces, are being “arrested for alleged activities targeting the occupying forces”.
The investigation has also established that at least 100 children, some as young as 10, are being detained.
Iraqi TV reporter Suhaib Badr-Addin Al-Baz says he saw the children’s wing in Abu Ghraib when he was arbitrarily arrested by US soldiers while making a documentary.
He said there were boys under the age of puberty in the jail and “certainly hundreds of children”.
He said he heard the cries of a 12-year-old girl who had been beaten. She was calling out: “They have undressed me.”
He also told of a 15-year-old boy being soaked repeatedly with hoses and then being taken to look at his father, who was also in jail and had been hooded.
A US soldier, Sergeant Samuel Provance, who served at Abu Ghraib, has also blown the whistle on child prisoners being abused. He told how interrogators soaked a 16-year-old prisoner, covered him in mud and then used his suffering to break his father, who was also a prisoner, during interrogation.
Unicef has been denied access to jails holding children with the coalition powers citing “poor security” as the reason.
Between January and May this year the International Committee for the Red Cross registered 107 juveniles being held in six different coalition jails.
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