White House statement: Abuse photos ‘not particularly sensational’

May 14, 2009

The White House has published an official statement outlining Barack Obama‘s reasons not to release photographs showing alleged abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the statement – now available on the White House website – the United States president accepted that abuse of detainees was ‘unacceptable’ but said that releasing the images would ‘further inflame anti-American opinion and put our troops in greater danger’.

He added: ‘Moreover, I fear the publication of these photos may only have a chilling effect on future investigations of detainee abuse.’

Obama continued: ‘Understand, these photos are associated with closed investigations of the alleged abuse of detainees in our ongoing war effort.

‘And I want to emphasise that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib, but they do represent conduct that did not conform with the Army Manual.

‘That’s precisely why they were investigated – and, I might add – investigated long before I took office? and, where appropriate, sanctions have been applied.’

To read the statement in full visit the White House website.

Picture credit: Pete Souza

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