Abu Ghraib Timeline

The Associated Press
Friday, May 7, 2004


Feb. 8: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says President Bush has decided that Geneva Convention protections do not apply to terrorist detainees from Afghanistan, but says all prisoners will be treated humanely.

December: In separate incidents, two Afghan detainees in U.S. custody die of blunt-force injuries. Both are classified as homicides and remain under investigation.


March 19: Iraq war begins.

June 30: Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski named commander of 800th Military Police Brigade, responsible for guarding Iraq prisons.

July 23: Amnesty International says it has received reports of torture of prisoners by coalition forces in Iraq.

Aug. 31-Sept. 9: Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who runs the military prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, conducts an inquiry on interrogation and detention procedures in Iraq. He suggests that prison guards can help set conditions for the interrogation of prisoners.

October: Red Cross conducts a 'no-notice' inspection of Abu Ghraib prison and later submits a report to U.S. military authorities in Iraq detailing abuses. Rumsfeld says he was not briefed. Red Cross later says several inspections between March and November found 'serious violations'.

October-December: Many of the alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib take place during this time period.

Oct. 13-Nov. 6: Maj. Gen. Donald Ryder, provost marshal of the Army, investigates conditions of U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib. He finds problems throughout the prisons. Some units, including the 800th Military Police Brigade, did not receive adequate training to guard prisons, he notes. He also says military police (MPs) should not assist in making prisoners more pliable to interrogation, as their job is to keep prisoners safe.

Nov. 24: Twelve prisoners are shot, three fatally, in prison riot at Abu Ghraib.

Nov. 26: Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamad Mowhoush loses consciousness and dies under questioning at undisclosed location in Iraq. Case is under investigation by CIA inspector general. A second prisoner death during questioning, this one at Abu Ghraib, is also under investigation.


Jan. 4-8: Red Cross reports improvements at Abu Ghraib.

Jan. 13: Army Spc. Joseph M. Darby, an MP with the 800th at Abu Ghraib, leaves a disc with photographs of prisoner abuse on the bed of a military investigator.

Jan. 14: Army launches criminal investigation of Abu Ghraib abuses.

Jan. 14-15: Gen. John Abizaid, chief of Central Command, tells Gen. Richard Meyers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, of the investigation and says it is a 'big deal'.

Jan. 16: Central Command issues one-paragraph news release announcing investigation of "incidents of detainee abuse" at unspecified U.S. prison in Iraq.

Jan. 18: A guard leader and a company commander at the prison are suspended from their duties, and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, a senior commander in Iraq, admonishes Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who commanded the brigade.

Jan. 19: Sanchez orders a separate administrative investigation into the 800th. Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba was appointed to conduct that inquiry on Jan. 31.

Jan. 31: Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba appointed to investigate prison abuses.

Early February: Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, brief President Bush on the prison abuse investigations.

Feb. 2: Taguba visits Abu Ghraib. Throughout the month, his team conducts interviews in Iraq and Kuwait.

Feb. 26: Sanchez publicly discloses the suspension of 17 military personnel but gives no details.

March 12: Taguba presents his report to his commanders. He finds widespread abuse of prisoners by military police and military intelligence. He also agrees with Ryder that guards should not play any role in the interrogation of prisoners.

March 20: Six soldiers face charges stemming from alleged abuse at the prison. The military announces the beginning of possible court-martial proceedings.

April 4: Internal Army review of prison management recommends administrative actions against several unnamed commanders in Iraq.

April 6: Third Army commander Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan approves Taguba's report.

April 12: CBS's 60 Minutes II informs Pentagon that it is planning to broadcast photographs of Abu Ghraib prison abuse.

April 14: Myers calls CBS News anchor Dan Rather to request delay in broadcast, saying the pictures will incite violence against U.S. troops and could endanger the 90 Western hostages held by Iraqi militants. CBS agrees. Myers calls a week later and obtains another delay.

April 28: CBS airs the photos, setting off an international outcry. Bush, Rumsfeld and Meyers say this is the first time they have seen any of the photographs.

April 30: The military announces Miller has been put in charge of U.S.-run prisons in Iraq.

May 1: Sanchez approves Taguba's report. Six more soldiers receive administration reprimands; two are relieved of their duties. A seventh receives a lesser reprimand. Other investigations are also under way, including into the military intelligence unit that conducted interrogations at the prison.

May 3: Bush urges Rumsfeld to make sure that any guilty U.S. soldiers are punished for "shameful and appalling acts." Rumsfeld's aides say he has not yet read the Taguba report, although they say he has kept abreast of the allegations of mistreatment.

May 6: Bush apologizes to the Arab world for abuse, says Rumsfeld will stay in his Cabinet.

May 7: Senate and House committees call Rumsfeld to testify. Rumsfeld apologizes for abuses and for laxity in informing the president and Congress, proposes compensation for victims and appoints panel to review prison system.

Sources: House, Senate testimony; Taguba's report, military and Bush administration officials; staff and wire reports.