US human rights abuses

There have been about 370 criminal investigations into the charges of abusing detainees by US soldiers, out of 68,000 detainees that have been in American custody since Sept. 11, 2001, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday.

But out of some 525,000 American troops who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, only "less than one-tenth of 1 percent have been found to have committed illegal acts against detainees," Rumsfeld told a Pentagon news briefing.

The secretary was referring to a Newsweek story in its May 9 issue. The story, which was retracted one week later under mounting pressure, reported that American military investigators had found evidence that interrogators at the Guantanamo prison facility had flushed a Koran down a toilet, to get prisoners thereto talk. The article sparked deadly anti-US protests in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Muslim countries, tells Xinhuanet.

According to MSN Money, Mr Rumsfeld, who has been criticised over the &to=http:// 22/98/386/15461_abughraib.html ' target=_blank>Abu Ghraib prison scandal and for permitting aggressive interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, was responding to comments published by the human rights group in its annual report last week.

"No force in the world has done more to liberate people that they have never met than the US military," said Mr Rumsfeld. "That's why the recent allegation that the US military is running a gulag at Guantanamo Bay is so reprehensible . . . To try to equate the military's record on detainee treatment to some of the worst atrocities of the past century is a disservice to those who have sacrificed so much to bring freedom to others."

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