Breadth of prisoner torture hard to define

Dec. 8, 2005 at 8:48 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. military says investigations of detainee abuse found only a small number credible but critics say it's hard to know how encompassing they were.

Defense Department investigators say of some 70,000 detainees, there have been fewer than 600 reliable abuse charges, a sign, the Pentagon tells the Christian Science Monitor, that abuse is not department policy and the deeds were those of a few renegade prisoner handlers.

"This is the most investigated Army in history. We've taken every allegation of detainee abuse seriously," Army spokesman Maj. Wayne Marotto told the Monitor.

But multiple classifications of prisoners have led to the process being clouded. National Institute of Military Justice President Eugene Fidell told the newspaper," the net effect is that public opinion is lost in a fog and I don't think that's healthy.

Prisoner abuse allegations led Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to draft a measure that would set standards as to how prisoners could be treated. The measure has widespread Capitol Hill support, but the White House is opposed to it.

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