Nearly four months before the publication of photos of Iraqi detainees abused by their coalition captors, a small Christian peace organization issued a report detailing incidents similar to those now sparking outcries from North America to the Middle East.
The report, covering the cases of 72 detainees, was released in January and addressed coalition raids on Iraqi homes, damage to and confiscation of personal property and treatment of detainees. The Christian peacemakers in Baghdad spent seven months last year interviewing detainees and their families and investigating their claims.
"So many detainees were showing up at our door, and no one was really working at it," said Gene Stoltzfus, director of the Chicago-based Christian Peacemaker Teams, a Brethren, Mennonite and Quaker organization that has maintained a five- or six-person presence in Baghdad since October 2002. Stoltzfus has been to Iraq twice in the past six months.
In a personal meeting in late January, Christian peacemakers team members presented the report to Col. Mark Warren, a high-ranking legal officer in the office of Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq. Several weeks later, Christian peacemakers team members also met with Richard Jones, a deputy to coalition administrator Paul Bremer.
The report was …