Report From the Arab Press

Collated by A.

May 19, 2004

American abuser's trial fails to mitigate Iraqis' anger

Covering the first trial of American Abu-Ghraib abusers, many Arab media of information agreed that the trial failed to mitigate Iraqis' anger or convince them of US seriousness in treating the catastrophic consequences of whole-sale brutal abuse of Iraqi POWs. The al-Arabiya satellite channel quoted Dr Majeed Khudair of Mustansiriya University as saying that the American trial is illegal because these were war crimes taking place in Iraq - which must be either investigated by an international court or an Iraqi one. At least, he said, the trial should have been made public and should have heard the victims and their lawyers. He added that there are a lot of victims who should have been heard, explaining that he knew of 16 University professors who were arrested and tortured before being released.

The al-Jazeera satellite channel quoted Lawyer Ameen al-Sadi, Secretary General of the Iraqi Bar Union, as saying that the brutal and immoral torture of POWs reveal a systemic policy influenced by the Israeli way of torture. He added that the trial is illegal because the crimes took place in Iraq and against Iraqis - which make it obligatory to try the culprits before an Iraqi court in accordance with Iraqi law and this obviously includes military personnel and commanders as well as their political superiors. "American military courts may try soldiers for lack of discipline or any other military failure," he said, adding "but what these soldiers and their superiors have committed were war crimes against Iraqi citizens and not a lack of discipline."

One victim of Abu-Ghraib atrocities, Saddam Salih told al-jazeera: "This is a theatrical show whose director is Bush, script writer Rumsfeld, and main actor Bremer" He added: "this show will not restore to me my dignity and my rights as a human being which were brutally abused by American military and intelligence authorities. Mr.Salih was one of the naked POWs, at whose genitals American solder England was showing pointing.

Another achievement by US occupiers:
Killing 41 wedding celebrators and blowing up a whole village

American helicopters attacked a wedding ceremony in an Iraqi village in the border town of Qaiyem near the Syrian border. The Lebanese satellite channel LBC said the Americans committed a massacre by killing 41 celebrating Iraqi civilians including 10 women and 15 children. The sat screened villagers digging a mass grave for the dead which is yet another mass grave made by American occupation forces after the huge one in Fallouja which embraced more than 800 people killed by American forces most of whom were women and children. The al-Arabiya satellite channel interviewed one villager who detailed the attack: "It was a wedding ceremony in Mahr eltheeb village with about 8 houses when American warplanes bombed the house where the ceremony was held, killing about 40 or 41 people who had not fired any bullet," said the villager adding that soon after the bombing, tanks and helicopters attacked the whole village and destroyed virtually all houses in the village."

Former UN official: America lacks moral authority

Mr. Ghassan Salama , former Lebanese Minister of culture and former assistant to former UN representative in Baghdad, told the Lebanese satellite channel LBC that, as a reformer, he feels now very embarrassed when the American administration talks about democratic reform in the Arab world. "America lacks moral authority. It calls for free speech and free press while its Secretary of Defense said in Baghdad that his biggest problem was Arab media," said Mr. Salama," America preaches human rights and its forces commit flagrant violations of human rights in Iraq. Thus, it asks other countries to do something while it does quite the opposite."

Continued fighting in Najaf

The al-Jazeera satellite channel said Najaf fighters fought off American tanks in Karbala and destroyed three of them, according to a statement by the fighters. American occupation forces opened tank fire against a civilian car carrying wounded civilians killing most of them. The channel said wounded people do not go hospitals for fear of being arrested by American forces.