'No excuse' for Arab silence: Powell

Published on May 17, 2004 05:33 PM IST

US Secretary of State Colin Powell condemned on Monday the failure by Arab leaders to roundly condemn the beheading of an American abducted in Iraq.

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PTI | ByAFP, Washington

US Secretary of State Colin Powell condemned today the failure by Arab leaders to roundly condemn the beheading of an American abducted in Iraq, saying the Iraqi prison abuse scandal was no excuse for silence.

"I think that should be a higher level of outrage. Notwithstanding what people think we did at the prison, there can be no comparison to the actions of a few who are going to be punished and brought to justice as a result of what happened at Abu Ghraib" prison outside Baghdad, Powell told NBC television.

"There ought to be outrage. There is anger in the Arab world about some of our actions, but that is no excuse for any silence on the part of any Arab leader for this kind of murder," he said.

Nicholas Berg, 26, was beheaded by a masked man US authorities believe was Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian tied to al-Qaeda.

A video recording on a website linked to the al-Qaeda terror network showed Berg's decapitation by five masked men. They said it was revenge for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops.

Berg, 26, had gone to Iraq trying to drum up business for his small telecommunications company.

"Torture of any kind is unacceptable," Powell told Fox television.

"When you are outraged at what happened at the prison, you should be equally, doubly outraged
at what happened to Mr Berg, a man who was picked up, who was not a combatant, who was doing nothing but trying to find work in Iraq, and to have him murdered on camera, so that his parents could see it, with his throat being slit by one of the worst terrorists on the face of the Earth," Powell said.

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