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Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib prison reopens as 'luxury prison'.

Byline: ANI

Baghdad, Feb. 22 (ANI): The infamous Abu Ghraib prison, which is largely known for the horrible and inhuman methods of torture for its inmates, has been transformed into Iraq's version of Club Fed.

The prison reopened on Saturday after getting a new name and a million dollar makeover that included a gym, barbershop, greenhouses, computer chat-room, a playground, and a sewing room, the Daily News reports.

In 2004, Abu Gharib, which is now called Baghdad Central Prison, attracted global outrage when pictures of US soldiers torturing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners surfaced. Saddam Hussein also used it is as a torture den.

"All kinds of human rights violations took place in this prison, so we felt that it was our duty to rehabilitate the prison. We turned it into something like a resort, not a prison," said Mohammed al-Zeidi, director of the Iraqi Rehabilitation Department.

In 2006, the US authorities closed the jail, and handed it back to the Iraqis. The 280-acre jail premises already houses 400 prisoners.

About 17,000 prisoners are currently detained in Iraqi jails. Another 14,500 are being held by the US forces, but earlier this month they began releasing about 50 detainees a day as part of the new security agreement with Iraq.

The new prison will eventually hold up to 15,000 prisoners. The Iraqi government has vowed to abide by international law and make sure the prisoners are treated humanely.

"This prison has a bad reputation. Now it is a place where law and justice are respected and prisoners are rehabilitated," said Abdul-Mutalb Jassim, general director of the Iraqi Rehabilitation Department. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Feb 22, 2009
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