Military insists 'segregation boxes' for Iraqi prisoners are 'humane'
CNN's Barbara Starr, in a Thursday report, examined what the US military is calling 'segregation boxes': small, wooden crates being used in Iraq to hold prisoners, which the US military insists are 'humane.'
Measuring 3 feet square and about 6 feet tall, the military claims that prisoners isolated in the chambers are checked frequently, but the practice is raising concern among human rights advocates.
"There is concern that they could be used in places where detainees are enclosed in extremely hot conditions," said Jennifer Daskal of Human Rights Watch.
"Typically, prisoners are isolated for no more than 12 hours," said Starr.
"Someone in a segregation box is actually observed more than those anywhere else," Maj. Neil Fischer with the United States Marine Corps told CNN.
"Since the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the US has improved conditions for the 20,000 detainees it holds," said Starr. "The US hopes to continue releasing prisoners. Recently, some 20 foreign fighters were sent back to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and thousands of Iraqis have been set free."
"We are able to capture threats to the Iraqi government and the population, detain them, rehabilitate them, and 99 times out of 100, release them," said Geoff Morrell, a Pentagon spokesman.
And while the military insists the prisoners held in 'segregation boxes' are given food, water and access to a toilet, "human rights advocates warn that as long as the US military puts people in these conditions, the day may come when a captured US military member is held in a wooden crate somewhere in the world," said Starr.
This video is from CNN.com, broadcast August 7, 2008.