Pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released despite government claims that they could damage America's image, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven they ``do not need pretexts for their barbarism.''
The American Civil Liberties Union sought the release of 87 photographs and four videotapes as part of an October 2003 lawsuit demanding information on the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody and the transfer of prisoners to countries known to use torture. The ACLU contends that prisoner abuse is systemic.
Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, had maintained in court papers that releasing the photographs would aid al-Qaida recruitment, weaken the Afghan and Iraqi governments and incite riots against U.S. troops, the AP reports.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan, which argued the case for the government, did not immediately comment on the ruling. AM