Prisoner 151/716

En Portada has talked with one of the Iraqis tortured by the American troops at Abu Ghraib prison. 

Ali Alqaisi recognizes himself in one of the iconic images of the tortures that went round the world.


“Torture is never-to-be-forgotten”.  It is fifteen years now and Ali Alqaisi keeps the burden of the tortures he suffered at Abu Ghraib prison.  At his 56 years old, Ali lives as a refugee in Germany.  The psychological and physical sequels makes him incapable of work.

The scandal of the abuses and tortures by the American troops during the invasion of Iraq came out to public by the photos taken by the own soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison.  The image of a hooded prisoner, on the top of a box, with his arms outstretched and with electrodes connected to his hands became a symbol of the tortures at Abu Ghrahib prison.

Ali Alqaisi recognizes himself on this picture and he has narrated to En Portada the living hell he suffered during the year he spent at this prison.  He was detained on October the 13th 2003, on his way to the high school where he taught.  He was the tribal chief of Abu Ghraib and he has decided to bring out what the foreign troops did on his area.

When he entered the prison, he was assigned a number, the 151/716.  That was only the start of a dehumanization process full of humiliation and tortures, practices forbidden by the International Law and the Convention against the Torture, even during war times: electroshocks, simulated drownings, the use of dogs to terrify inmates and other torture methods, both physical and psychological.

The European Centre of Human and Constitutional Rights has proofs that those tortures were systematic, in order to get confessions from prisoners.  Nevertheless, not a single elected politician or high-ranked military member has been prosecuted.  Ali Alqaisi keeps claiming justice for him and for the thousands of Iraqis tortured by the American forces.  He maintains that what it has been publish by the media is only a small part of what really happened during those dark years.  Abu Ghraib was only one of the 76 jails that existed by then in Iraq.




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