NEW YORK (AP) - Pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released despite government claims that they could damage America's image, a judge ruled Thursday.U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered the release of certain pictures, saying terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven they "do not need pretexts for their barbarism."
The American Civil Liberties Union sought the release of 87 photographs and four videotapes as part of an October 2003 lawsuit demanding information on the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody and the transfer of prisoners to countries known to use torture. The ACLU contends that prisoner abuse is systemic.
"Our nation does not surrender to blackmail, and fear of blackmail is not a legally sufficient argument to prevent us from performing a statutory command," the judge wrote in his 50-page decision. "Indeed, the freedoms that we champion are as important to our success in Iraq and Afghanistan as the guns and missiles with which our troops are armed."