Chronology of Abu Ghraib

Abu Ghraib, once notorious as Saddam Hussein's torture chamber, is now infamous for photographs of U.S. military police abusing Iraqi prisoners.


May 2003 May 12: Four soldiers from the 320th Military Police Battalion abuse detainees at Camp Bucca, in southern Iraq, kicking and beating them.

Late May to early June: The 800th Military Police Brigade is given a new mission to manage the Iraqi penal system and several detention centers. Members of the 800th had believed they were going home after managing detainees, at one point numbering between 7,000 to 8,000, in Camp Bucca. A military report said that "morale suffered."
June 2003 June 9: Riot and shootings of five detainees at Camp Cropper, at Baghdad airport, by 115th MP Battalion.

June 12: Several detainees escape from Camp Cropper holding area. One is recaptured, one is shot and killed by 115th MP Battalion.

June 13: A detainee escapes and is recaptured. At Camp Vigilant, at Abu Ghraib, one detainee is killed and seven are shot by 320th MP Battalion.

June 30: Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski takes command of 800th MP Brigade.
July 2003 July 1: Amnesty International criticizes the U.S. military for subjecting Iraqi prisoners to "cruel, inhumane, or degrading" conditions.
August 2003 Aug. 4: Abu Ghraib prison reopened by coalition forces.

Aug. 31 to Sept. 9: Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller leads a survey team on intelligence, interrogation and detention operations in Iraq.
September 2003 September-October: Military intelligence officers ask for control of Tiers 1A and 1B for interrogation of high-value detainees, said Karpinski.
October 2003 Oct. 1: Camp Cropper closes.

Oct. 12: A new "Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy" is issued in wake of Miller visit/report.

Oct. 13 to Nov. 6: Maj. Gen. Donald J. Ryder, Army provost marshal, assesses detention and corrections operations in Iraq.

Oct. 15: 372nd MP Company of the 320th MP Battalion takes over Tiers 1A and 1B at Abu Ghraib.

Period of most Abuses

Left: A naked detainee at the Abu Ghraib prison is tethered by a leash to prison guard Army Pfc. Lynndie R. England in a digital photo date stamped October 24. (The Washington Post)

Oct. 18-31: Karpinski sends Lt. Col. Jerry L. Phillabaum, the 320th MP Battalion's commander, to Kuwait for rest.
November 2003 Nov. 5: At least two detainees escape from Tier 3A at Abu Ghraib.

Nov. 7-8: Several detainees escape from Camp Ganci at Abu Ghraib.


Nov. 19: Col. Thomas M. Pappas, commander of 205th MI Brigade, is designated as commander of Abu Ghraib, making military intelligence responsible for the MP units conducting detainee operations.

Nov. 24: Riot and shootings of 12 detainees (three died) at Camp Ganci, at Abu Ghraib. Nine MPs of the 320th MP Battalion are wounded. Also, Spec. Luciana Spencer, 205th MI Brigade, forces a detainee to strip and to stay in his cell naked in the Tier 1A Facility holding military intelligence targets.
December 2003 Dec. 17: Detainee shot after assaulting an MP at Camp Ganci, at Abu Ghraib.
January 2004

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (Agence France-Presse)
Jan. 13: Soldier in 372nd MP Company at Abu Ghraib reports prisoner abuse, launching Army investigation.

Jan. 17: Phillabaum suspended as commander of 320th; Capt. Donald J. Reese suspended as commander of 372nd. Karpinski given memorandum of admonishment.

Jan. 19: Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, asks his superiors for investigation of 800th MP Brigade from Nov. 1, 2003, to the present.

Jan. 31: Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba appointed to conduct formal investigation into 800th MP Brigade.
March 2004 March 3: Taguba report completed and forwarded to Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of ground forces in Iraq.

March 20: Charges filed against six soldiers.
April 2004 April 28: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld briefs Congress on Taguba report. CBS's "60 Minutes II" shows photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.
May 2004 May 7:
• Rumsfeld testifies at congressional hearings on prison abuse.
• A seventh soldier is charged.

May 9: Attorneys for Army Pfc. Lynndie R. England, a 21-year-old reservist charged with 13 counts of misconduct in the case, say she was ordered by her superiors to pose with naked Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison so that the photos could be used to frighten and demoralize other prisoners. England was photographed holding a leash tied to the neck of a naked prisoner.

May 11: Rumsfeld tells Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee members that authorized methods had been confirmed by Pentagon lawyers as complying with the Geneva Conventions on treatment of detainees.

May 12: Transcripts obtained by The Post show that Spec. Jeremy C. Sivits, one of the seven members of the 372nd Military Police Company facing charges in the case, offered to plead guilty. Sivits provided military investigators with a detailed account of how guards humiliated and beat detainees.

May 13: Rumsfeld visits Abu Ghraib and declares that those responsible for the alleged abuse will be brought to justice.

May 14: U.S. military officials announce that Army Spec. Charles A. Graner Jr. will be the fourth U.S. soldier to be court-martialed in connection with the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Graner faces seven charges, including maltreatment, adultery and cruelty.

May 18: Graner, Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II and Sgt. Javal S. Davis are all arraigned on charges of abusing and mistreating detainees at Abu Ghraib prison.

May 19: Spec. Jeremy C. Sivits is sentenced to one year in prison for his role in abusing Iraqis at the prison. Sivits pleaded guilty to four criminal counts and agreeing to testify against six other accused Americans.

May 21: The U.S. releases 454 detainees from the Abu Ghraib prison.

May 23: Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski is suspended from her command of the 800th Military Police Brigade. Karpinski was in charge of all 16 U.S. detention facilities in Iraq when the abuses occurred in fall 2003.

May 24: Another 24 prisoners leave Abu Ghraib.
June 2004 June 8: The Post obtains an August 2002 memo showing that the Justice Department advised the White House that torturing al Qaeda terrorists in captivity abroad "may be justified," and that international laws against torture "may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations" conducted in President Bush's war on terrorism.

June 10: Sanchez asks to be removed as the senior officer overseeing an investigation of military intelligence soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison.

June 22: Bush administration disavow Justice Department memo which stated that torturing terrorism suspects might be legally defensible. President's aides say memo created the false impression that the government was claiming authority to use interrogation techniques barred by international law.
July 2004 July 8: Days before her court-martial trial, England is charged with indecent acts with another soldier and indecent exposure.

July 27: In videotaped testimony, Saddam "Sam" Saleh Aboud alleges that Army Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski witnessed abuses at Abu Ghraib. Aboud is part of a lawsuit against military contractors Titan Corp. of San Diego and CACI International Inc. of Arlington for his alleged treatment at the facility.
August 2004 Aug. 3: Preliminary court hearing is held for England.

Aug. 5: Capt. Carolyn A. Wood, a top military intelligence specialist, testifies during England hearing, saying that abuse of detainees at the facility was not part of an official interrogation strategy.

Aug. 6: During England hearing, Sgt. Joseph Darby describes his struggle in deciding to anonymously report the abuse.

Aug. 23: Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick pleads guilty to charges of abuse.
September 2004 Sept. 11: Army Spec. Armin J. Cruz Jr. pleads guilty to charges of abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib.
November 2004 Nov. 3: Megan Ambuhl pleads guilty to one charge of dereliction of duty for her role in the detainee abuses. She was sentenced to a reduction in rank from specialist to private and was ordered to forfeit half of one month's pay, according to a military spokesman in Iraq.

Nov. 11: The trials of Sgt. Javal S. Davis, Spec. Sabrina Harman and Spec. Charles A. Graner Jr. are moved to the U.S. They were scheduled to take place in Baghdad.

Nov. 30: A confidential December 2003 report obtained by The Washington Post shows that Army generals in Iraq were warned about detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib.
January 2005 Jan. 7: Court-martial trial begins for Spec. Charles A. Graner Jr.

Jan. 14: Graner is convicted on five counts of assault, maltreatment and conspiracy in connection with the beating and humiliation of Iraqi detainees.

Jan. 15: Graner is sentenced to 10 years in a military stockade.
February 2005 Feb. 3: Rumsfeld appears on "Larry King Live" and says he offered to resign following the Abu Ghraib revelations but President Bush asked him to stay on.

Feb. 17:
• Prosecutors at Fort Hood in Texas file new charges against England. She is accused of two counts of conspiracy, one count of dereliction of duty, four counts of cruelty and maltreatment of detainees, and two counts of "indecent acts."
• Internal Army criminal files document allegations of abuse in Afghanistan by members of a Special Forces unit.

March 2005 March 12: A federal judge blocks the transfer from Guantanamo Bay of 13 Yemeni detainees because of concerns the detainees may be mistreated in another country.

March 16: Army report shows that reported cases of prisoner abuse declined by 75 percent after revelations of detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib.

March 23: The Post uncovers documents which show that the CIA was using Abu Ghraib's prison cells to house unregistered detainees.

March 25: The Foreign Affairs Committee of the British Parliament issues a report that finds the U.S. guilty of "grave violations of human rights" against prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq.

April 2005 April 29: England pleads guilty in abuse case.
May 2005 May 4: Charges against England are dismissed after a judge at Fort Hood, Tex., determined that her guilty pleas were inappropriate. Graner's testimony indicated that England had not conspired with him to humiliate and abuse detainees, and a judge ruled that England could not then plead guilty to the charge.

May 6: Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski, the only general to be punished in connection with investigations into detainee abuse at U.S. military prisons, is demoted to colonel.
July 2005 July 7: England pleads not guilty to new charges stemming from detainee abuse case.
September 2005 Sept. 21: Second court-martial trial begins for England.

Sept. 26: England is convicted of six counts of abuse and indecent acts.

Sept. 27: England is sentenced to three years in prison and given a dishonorable discharge from the Army.

SOURCES: Taguba report, staff research | GRAPHIC: The Washington Post - Updated February 17, 2006


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