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Interrogation techniques banned in Iraq

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About 300 detainees are freed from Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison.

Spc. Jeremy Sivits has given U.S. officials a detailed statement describing instances of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.

An Army investigation is focusing on whether the military intelligence unit at Abu Ghraib encouraged abuse.
Gallery: Reaction to the abuse photos
Gallery: Abuse at Abu Ghraib prison (Contains graphic content. Viewer discretion advised.)

• Gallery: Soldiers charged
• FindLaw: Taguba Report
• Timeline: Iraq abuse case
Donald Rumsfeld
Abu Ghraib

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military will not use certain prisoner interrogation techniques in Iraq following the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, Pentagon officials said Friday.

Among the tactics barred are sleep and sensory deprivation and keeping prisoners in stressful positions for periods of time.

According to the military, none of the tactics -- which required the approval of the commanding general before use -- had been requested in Iraq.

Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, completed a review this week of approved interrogation techniques for detainees in Iraq, in the wake of concern and criticism that they violate the Geneva Conventions, two senior defense officials told CNN Friday.

Seven U.S. soldiers have been charged with abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Three of the soldiers face general courts-martial arraignments Thursday, a session used for felony-level offenses. A fourth soldier faces a special court-martial -- the military equivalent of a civilian misdemeanor court -- on Wednesday.

On Capitol Hill on Thursday, top officials acknowledged some of the techniques under review could violate the Geneva Conventions.

Also Friday, the ranking U.S. military leader in Afghanistan announced changes at the main detainee camp at Bagram.

Lt. Gen. David Barno, who leads the Combined Forces Command in Afghanistan, confirmed he is "in the midst of putting out some new policy guidance" to underscore a mandate of "treating all of our detainees with dignity and respect."

Barno, speaking at a policy forum in Washington, said a newspaper's report of mistreatment of an Afghan police colonel in U.S. custody was the "first indication" he had of any problems among detainees.

He said the new policy guidance is intended to "make sure those rules are enforced across all our operations in Afghanistan." He did not describe any shortcomings the new guidance will address.

Prisoners released

U.S. authorities released 293 prisoners Friday from the prison near Baghdad, the first mass prisoner release since images of abuse at the hands of the U.S. military surfaced several weeks ago.

Earlier, officials had said 315 prisoners were freed, but Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said the release of 22 prisoners was delayed.

Kimmitt told reporters Friday that the next prisoner release will be next Friday.

"We anticipate 475 prisoners to be released. Twenty-two prisoners delayed today are expected to be released on May 21st," he said.

Hundreds of Iraqis gathered around the prison after hearing about the imminent prisoner release. The first bus, with about 70 released prisoners, left Abu Ghraib around 9:20 a.m. (1:20 a.m. ET) heading toward Baghdad. The other four buses emerged hours later -- one headed to Fallujah and the other three to Ba'qubah, coalition officials said.

About a week ago, there were about 3,800 prisoners at Abu Ghraib. The new U.S. commander of detention operations in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, said he plans to reduce that number to somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000.

Miller took over for Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was relieved of duty on January 17, a day after the coalition military announced an investigation into abuse in the prison.

Seven soldiers face criminal charges in the abuse case, and four of them have been formally referred for court-martial. (Full story)

Photos of the abuse have prompted outrage -- particularly in the Arab world -- and led to days of hearings on Capitol Hill.

The Army has been investigating the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib since January, but the case erupted last month when CBS broadcast graphic photographs of American troops posing for photographs with naked, hooded prisoners.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been criticized for not alerting the president and Congress sooner about the pictures.

Lawmakers are focusing on how high up the chain of command culpability for the abuse goes.

While Rumsfeld and other Pentagon officials have described the abuse as an aberration, some lawmakers have suggested in their questions that the military police -- who acted as guards for the prisoners -- may have been taking their cues from military intelligence.

The author of a military report on Abu Ghraib, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, has also questioned the role of military intelligence at the prison. But he told a Senate panel Tuesday that there were no "direct orders" or written policies that sanctioned the abuse of prisoners.

CNN's Ed Henry, Joe Johns, Ted Barrett and Steve Turnham contributed to this report.

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