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Inquiry Finds Some Quran ‘Mishandling’

May 26, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. officials have substantiated five cases in which military guards or interrogators mishandled the Quran of Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay but found ``no credible evidence″ to confirm a prisoner’s report that a holy book was flushed in a toilet, the prison’s commander said Thursday.

Brig. Gen. Jay W. Hood, who commands the detention center in Cuba, told a Pentagon news conference that a prisoner who was reported to have complained to an FBI agent in 2002 that a military guard threw a Quran in the toilet has told Hood’s investigators that he never witnessed any form of Quran desecration.

The unidentified prisoner, questioned at Guantanamo on May 14, said he had heard talk of guards mishandling religious articles but did not witness any such acts, Hood said at a Pentagon news conference.

``I’d like you to know that we have found no credible evidence that a member of the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay ever flushed a Quran down a toilet,″ Hood said. ``We did identify 13 incidents of alleged mishandling of the Quran by Joint Task Force personnel. Ten of those were by a guard and three by interrogators.″

Of 13 alleged incidents, five were substantiated, he said. Four were by guards and one was by an interrogator. Hood said the five cases ``could be broadly defined as mishandling″ of the holy book, but he refused to discuss details.

In three of the five cases, the mishandling appears to have been deliberate. In the other two, it apparently was accidental.

``None of these five incidents was a result of a failure to follow standard operating procedures in place at the time the incident occurred,″ Hood said.

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