Abu Ghraib Timeline

Abu Ghraib Timeline
Feb. 18, 2005
The American Civil Liberties Union releases U.S. army documents showing that photos of American soldiers posing with hooded and bound prisoners in Afghanistan were destroyed after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

Jan. 15, 2005
U.S. army Spc. Charles Graner Jr. is sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted on five charges related to abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison.

Dec. 21, 2004
The American Civil Liberties Union releases internal FBI memos containing reports that U.S. soldiers chained Iraqi detainees for long periods, strangled them, burned them with lit cigarettes, and left them to defecate on themselves. The documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, also include details of detainee abuse in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Jan. 15, 2005
U.S. army Spc. Charles Graner Jr. is sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted on five charges related to abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison.

Dec. 21, 2004
The American Civil Liberties Union releases internal FBI memos containing reports that U.S. soldiers chained Iraqi detainees for long periods, strangled them, burned them with lit cigarettes, and left them to defecate on themselves. The documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, also include details of detainee abuse in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Oct. 20, 2004
U.S. army reservist Staff Sgt. Ivan (Chip) Frederick pleads guilty to five charges of abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib, including dereliction of duty, assault and committing an indecent act. Frederick is the highest-ranking U.S. soldier charged in the scandal. He would later be sentenced to eight years in prison.

Sept. 27, 2004
The U.S. Army announces that Pte. 1st Class Lynndie England will go on trial Jan. 17, 2005.

Sept. 24, 2004
Pte. 1st Class Lynndie England is arraigned, facing 19 counts of abuse and indecent acts. England does not enter a plea.

Sept. 11, 2004
A U.S. military court in Baghdad sentences Spec. Armin J. Cruz to eight months in prison after he pleaded guilty to abusing inmates at Abu Ghraib. Cruz is the first military intelligence soldier to stand trial.

Aug. 25, 2004
A Pentagon investigation concludes that the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib were the result of individual misconduct, a lack of discipline and a failure of leadership.

Aug. 24, 2004
The independent commission of inquiry into Abu Ghraib releases its report, saying senior Pentagon military and civilian officials share part of the blame for the prison abuse.» More on the abuse inquiries

Aug. 20, 2004
Prof. Steven Miles of the University of Minnesota publishes an article in Lancet saying military doctors were complicit in the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib. The U.S. Department of Defence calls the report distorted and inaccurate.

Aug. 3, 2004
A military investigator says U.S. soldiers charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison were “joking around, having some fun during the night shift.” His testimony contradicts the defence claims that the soldiers were following orders.

June 22, 2004
Washington releases memos on prisoner interrogation techniques approved for use in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The government says the documents show U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rejected the use of aggressive methods, including torture.

June 21, 2004
A U.S. military judge rules that the Abu Ghraib prison is a crime scene and must not be torn down, which U.S. President Bush had earlier offered to do.

May 19, 2004
The first U.S. soldier to be court-martialled for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners is sentenced to one year in jail. Spc. Jeremy Sivits pleaded guilty to mistreating detainees, dereliction of duty for failing to protect them from abuse and forcing a prisoner “to be positioned in a pile on the floor to be assaulted by other soldiers.” The 24-year-old military police officer also receives a bad conduct discharge.

May 11, 2004
U.S. army Maj.-Gen. Antonio Taguba, who first investigated allegations of prisoner abuse in an Iraqi prison, tells Congress the mistreatment resulted from faulty leadership, a “lack of discipline, no training whatsoever and no supervision” of the troops. An Islamic militant website shows video of the beheading of a man identified as an American, claiming it was done in revenge for abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

May 10, 2004
U.S. President George W. Bush promises a “full accounting” of the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers. He stands by his defence secretary, saying Rumsfeld was “doing a superb job.”

Soldiers guard the prison of Abu Ghraib, outside Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, May 5, 2004. (AP Photo)

May 9, 2004
British Prime Minister Tony Blair apologizes for any mistreatment Iraqi prisoners may have suffered at the hands of British troops. The U.S. announces it will start dealing with those who have already been accused of mistreating detainees. The first court martial – involving army specialist Jeremy Sivits – is scheduled to begin on May 19 in Baghdad.

May 8, 2004
Concerns that Iraqi prisoners of war may have been abused widen when a British newspaper publishes pictures of an Iraqi it says was beaten and humiliated by British troops.

May 7, 2004
U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld testifies for six hours before the congressional committee looking at abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Rumsfeld apologizes and says he’s responsible. Says he first learned of the allegations in January. He adds there are more pictures and videos – and some are far more graphic than those already made public.
One of the Americans photographed mocking naked Iraqi prisoners, army Pte. 1st Class Lynndie England, 21, is charged by the military with assaulting the detainees and conspiring to mistreat them.

May 6, 2004
Bush apologizes for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. He refuses to fire Donald Rumsfeld, saying he is “a really good defence secretary.”

May 5, 2004
U.S. President George W. Bush does interviews with two Arab satellite news channels – al-Arabiya and al-Hurra. He says the abuse of prisoners was “abhorrent” and “does not represent the America that I know.” Bush is criticized for not offering an apology during the interviews.

May 1, 2004
The New Yorker magazine reports it has a copy of Maj.-Gen. Antonio Taguba’s report, which is said to conclude that Iraqi prisoners were subjected to “sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses” at Abu Ghraib prison. It’s the same prison where Saddam Hussein’s regime tortured opponents.

A British newspaper – The Daily Mirror – publishes pictures of an Iraqi it says was beaten and humiliated by British troops. The image is of a soldier apparently urinating on a hooded Iraqi prisoner who is sitting on the floor. The paper quotes unidentified soldiers as saying the hooded prisoner was abused for eight hours, threatened with execution and then pushed from a moving vehicle.

April 30, 2004
The U.S. military charges six soldiers after pictures are published of the soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners. The soldiers took the pictures depicting various humiliations of naked prisoners, sometimes at the hands of women.

April 28, 2004
The CBS news magazine program 60 Minutes II broadcasts pictures that show leering American soldiers taunting naked Iraqi prisoners who are forced to assume humiliating poses.

Feb. 26, 2004
Taguba’s report, which was not meant to be released to the public, is completed.

Jan. 19, 2004
Brig.-Gen. Janis Karpinski is formally admonished and quietly suspended. Lt.- Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the senior commander in Iraq, authorizes an investigation into the army’s prison system. He asks Maj.-Gen. Antonio Taguba to do the job.

Jan. 16, 2004
Central Command issues a brief press release announcing an investigation into the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners.

Jan. 13, 2004
A military policeman presents army investigators with a computer disk containing graphic photographs depicting the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

June 2003
U.S. army reserve Brig.-Gen. Janis Karpinski is named commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade and put in charge of military prisons in Iraq. It’s her first experience dealing with prisoners. Her command includes three large jails, eight battalions and 3,400 army reservists. Most had no training in handling prisoners.

April – May 2003
The International Red Cross and several human rights groups complain that American troops have been mistreating Iraqi prisoners.