A timeline of the abuse controversy

A timeline of the military's investigations into conditions at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere.
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Updated on May 17, 2004 08:00 PM IST
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PTI | ByAP/AFP, Washington

A timeline of the military's investigations into conditions at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere:

- Aug. 31-Sept. 9, 2003: Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who runs the military prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, conducts an inquiry on interrogation and detention procedures in Iraq. He suggests that prison guards can help set conditions for the interrogation of prisoners.

- October-December 2003: Many of the alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib take place during this time period.

- Oct. 13-Nov. 6, 2003: Maj. Gen. Donald Ryder, provost marshal of the Army, investigates conditions of US-run prisons in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib. He finds problems throughout the prisons. Some units, including the 800th Military Police Brigade, did not receive adequate training to guard prisons, he notes. He also says military police (MPs) should not assist in making prisoners more pliable to interrogation, as their job is to keep prisoners safe.

- Jan. 13, 2004: Army Spc. Joseph M. Darby, an MP with the 800th at Abu Ghraib, first reports cases of abuse at the prison.

- Jan. 16: Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez orders a criminal investigation into reports of abuse at the prison by members of the brigade. The military also announces the investigation publicly.

- Jan. 18: A guard leader and a company commander at the prison are suspended from their duties, and Sanchez admonishes Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who commanded the brigade.

- Jan. 19: Sanchez orders a separate administrative investigation into the 800th. Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba was appointed to conduct that inquiry on Jan. 31.

- Late January-early February: President Bush becomes aware of the charges sometime in this time period, according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan, although the spokesman has not pinpointed a date. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld tells Bush of the charges, McClellan has said.

- Feb. 2: Taguba visits Abu Ghraib. Throughout the month, his team conducts interviews in Iraq and Kuwait.

- March 12: Taguba presents his report to his commanders. He finds widespread abuse of prisoners by military police and military intelligence. He also agrees with Ryder that guards should not play any role in the interrogation of prisoners.

- March 20: Six soldiers face charges stemming from alleged abuse at the prison. The military announces the beginning of possible court-martial proceedings.

- Mid-April: Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asks CBS-TV to delay airing photographs it has obtained of abuse at Abu Ghraib. Myers says the photos would exacerbate an intense period of violence under way in Iraq. CBS delays its program for two weeks.

- April 6: Third Army commander Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan approves some recommendations of the Taguba report, which results in letters of reprimands for six military police officers and non-commissioned officers, and the relief from duties of two of them. Six guards are criminally charged.

- April 28: CBS airs the photos, setting off an international outcry. Bush first learns about these photos from the television report, his aides say.

- April 30: US President George W. Bush expresses "deep disgust" and Tony Blair's spokesman says the British prime minister is appalled. The Arab League calls on the US-led coalition to "punish everyone who has been involved in these savage acts." The military announces Miller has been put in charge of US-run prisons in Iraq.

- May 1: Sanchez approves Taguba's report. Six more soldiers receive administration reprimands; two are relieved of their duties. A seventh receives a lesser reprimand. Other investigations are also under way, including into the military intelligence unit that conducted interrogations at the prison.

- May 3: Bush urges Rumsfeld to make sure that any guilty US soldiers are punished for "shameful and appalling acts." Rumsfeld's aides say he has not yet read the Taguba report, although they say he has kept abreast of the allegations of mistreatment. - May 6: Bush apologizes to the Arab world for abuse, says Rumsfeld will stay in his Cabinet.

- May 5: US military gives a tour of Abu Ghraib jail to journalists. Bush gives interviews to two Arab-language television channels and calls the abuse "abhorrent." US media report the next day that Bush admonished Rumsfeld for failing to inform him about the photographs of the abuse.

- May 6: The Washington Post publishes new photos from the jail, including one showing a woman soldier holding a leash tied around the neck of a naked man. Calls for Rumsfeld's resignation intensify. Bush offers apology during news conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II.

- May 7: Rumsfeld appears before Congress and offers his "deepest apology," but he says he will not resign. He reveals the existence of more photos and videos of the prison abuse. The international Red Cross says the abuse it found in Iraq's US-run prisons was systematic and amounted to torture.

Sources: Taguba's report, military and Bush administration officials.

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