Defense Ministry accepts Iraq prisoner abuse video is authentic
Court process begins which could lead to trial of soldiers shown beating inmates
“Seen as it is, the primary conclusions indicate that the location could correspond to the installations provided for prisoners in the guard room at the Spanish base in Al Diwaniyah.” With these words, the Defense Ministry has admitted that a video obtained by EL PAÍS and published last Sunday shows Spanish soldiers brutally assaulting two defenseless detainees in 2004 is authentic.
The result of this conclusion is clear: “In accordance with the instructions of Defense Minister Pedro Morenés, the army has placed in the hands of a military judge in Madrid the first conclusions of a summary of information in relation to a video recently published regarding a case of alleged mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by Spanish soldiers,” the ministry said in a communiqué.
However, identifying the suspects will be a harder process. “After analyzing the original video, the identification marks on the aggressors’ uniforms could lead to the identification of their unit and, as they did not cover their faces, it is feasible to identify at least two individuals.” The ministry stated that no commanding officer is under suspicion of having condoned the mistreatment of prisoners and praised the actions of the 132,000 military personnel who have participated in international missions over the past 20 years.
After studying the material, the military judge will have to decide if the actions fall under the 1985 Military Penal Code, and in particular if they constitute “crimes against the laws and uses of war,” which can carry a sentence of up to 15 years.