Saturday, June 04, 2005

US Guantanamo guard kicked Koran

US Guantanamo guard kicked Koran

US guards at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre kicked, threw water and splashed urine on copies of Koran.

The Pentagon has released details of five incidents in which the Koran was mishandled by US personnel at the camp, some intentional and others accidental.

In another incident a two-word English obscenity was found written in a Koran.

The Pentagon carried out the investigation after Newsweek published, then retracted, a report that the Koran has been flushed down a toilet.

Water balloons

According to a newly-completed military inquiry into the alleged mishandling of Korans at the high-security detention centre in Cuba, some of the incidents were unintentional.

In one instance, a guard urinated near an air vent.

The wind allegedly blew his urine through the vent, soiling one detainee and his Koran.

According to the report, the guard was reprimanded and sanctioned, and the inmate was given a new uniform and Koran.

Other Korans became wet after night-shift guards had thrown balloons filled with water into a cell block, the report found.

In a third case, an interrogator reportedly apologised to a detainee after stepping on his Koran.

In a fourth incident, a soldier deliberately kicked Islam's holy book.

Finally, a prisoner found a "two-word obscenity" in English written in his copy of the Koran.

Brigadier General Jay Hood, commander at Guantanamo, concluded in his report that the words might have been written by a guard or by the detainee himself.

'Lasting damage'

The Newsweek report sparked protests across the Muslim world. In Afghanistan riots resulted in the deaths of at least 15 people.

Thousands rallied in Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon and Malaysia, demanding apologies from the US and punishment for those involved.

The magazine withdrew its story after saying it could no longer corroborate the report.

The inmate who made the original allegation about the Koran being flushed down the toilet had retracted it, said Brig Gen Hood.

The White House rounded on the magazine, saying its report had done "lasting damage" to the US image in the Muslim world.