View Full Version : Canadian tells of torture in Iraq by U.S. soldiers

May 5th, 2004, 03:48 PM
Associated Press

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Portland, Ore. A Canadian civilian says in a lawsuit that he was tortured by U.S. troops in Iraq and saw Iraqi prisoners suffer even worse mistreatment the latest allegations of human rights abuses to surface against coalition soldiers.

Hossam Shaltout, 57, claims in a suit filed with the U.S. Army Claims Office on April 30 that he was beaten after being taken to the Camp Bucca detention centre shortly after the launch of the U.S.-led invasion.

"I saw Iraqis tortured more than I was. They did unspeakable things to Iraqis," Mr. Shaltout said Monday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The allegations coincide with a larger scandal involving alleged mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq. Photos made public last week showed U.S. soldiers humiliating Iraqis at the U.S. Army-run Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

Repeated calls to Army public affairs officials seeking comment were not immediately returned Monday. U.S. President George W. Bush has asked military officials to investigate any alleged prisoner abuse, and to punish those soldiers responsible.

In his complaint, Mr. Shaltout, a Los Angeles resident, claims one of his tormenters is among a group of reservists who have already been discharged after being accused of abusing prisoners at Camp Bucca.

According to the complaint, Mr. Shaltout had gone to Iraq before the war on behalf of a group called Rights and Freedom International, hoping to persuade Iraqi leaders to step down.

The complaint says Mr. Shaltout was arrested on April 9, 2003, taken to Camp Bucca and accused of being a speechwriter and "right-hand-man" of Saddam Hussein. He claims he was beaten after protesting his arrest.

The complaint also says $119,000 was taken from his hotel room in Iraq and not returned. Mr. Shaltout's attorney, Thomas Nelson, said his client cannot go home because American authorities have refused to hand back his green card.

The lawsuit, which demands $350,000 in damages, says Mr. Shaltout was freed and eventually taken to Egypt.

Mr. Shaltout says he was born in Egypt, moved to Canada in 1971 and became a citizen, then settled in Los Angeles. He said his business distributes American-made global positioning devices in Saudi Arabia.