05:55 GMT03 March 2021
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    The Pentagon has pledged to release nearly 200 photographs documenting the abuse of prisoners at US detention centers in Afghanistan and Iraq, the ACLU said on Wednesday.

    The pledge comes amid an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed in 2004 by the ACLU, which is seeking the release of some 2,000 photographs allegedly showing detainee mistreatment.

    In a statement, the ACLU said the Pentagon had promised to post 198 of those images online for public viewing by Friday.

    The Obama administration in 2009 said it would release the photos, but Congress passed an exemption to FOIA that allows the images to be withheld if the US Defense Secretary believes their release would threaten national security.

    The majority of the 1,800 or so photos will remain unreleased after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in November invoked his authority under the 2009 exemption provision. The ACLU said it would continue to seek the release of the remaining photos.

    The US government opposes publicly releasing the photos, saying the images could provoke a violent backlash and place US forces and personnel abroad at heightened risk of attack.

    The still-classified images consist of collection of photographs taken by the Pentagon from September 11, 2001, to January 22, 2009, and relate to the treatment of “engaged, captured or detained individuals,” according to court documents.

    In 2004, a major scandal broke when the media published photos of US soldiers torturing and sexually humiliating prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. As a result, 11 US soldiers were convicted in court martials between 2004 and 2006.

    Abu Ghraib, torture, ACLU, Ash Carter, Afghanistan, Iraq, US
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