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Two Guantanamo guards disciplined

Investigation: Soldiers had improperly used force on detainees

This image of detainees was released by the U.S. in 2002.
Red Cross
Southern Command
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Cuba)

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Two guards at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were disciplined for misuse of force against detainees in 2002 and 2003, according to Col. David McWilliams of the U.S. Southern Command.

Three other cases were investigated but those involved were cleared of wrongdoing, McWilliams said.

The news comes as the United States investigates cases of prisoner abuse in Iraq. Images of U.S. military personnel apparently abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison have led to increased scrutiny of how the military treats prisoners.

In September 2002, an army specialist was charged with assault and given administrative punishment after the guard tried to spray a detainee with a hose. The prisoner had thrown food and toilet water out of his cell window. Another guard intervened and prevented the spraying.

The specialist was found to have violated the rules on the use of force. His rank was reduced to private first class, his movement was restricted for seven days and he was reassigned to other duty on the base.

In the other case, in April 2003, an army specialist was charged with dereliction of duty and assault. A detainee who was out of his cell assaulted a guard, and then bit the guard in the resulting struggle.

After the prisoner was subdued, the specialist hit the detainee with his radio.

The specialist's rank was reduced to private first class, was given 45 days of extra duty and was reassigned on the base.

In a third case, an Army Reserve staff sergeant requested a court-martial after being offered nonjudicial punishment for failing to obey a lawful order regarding the use of pepper spray. He was acquitted.

The staff sergeant used the pepper spray when he felt the lives of soldiers under his charge were at risk during a disturbance by a detainee.

Two other complaints were found to be unsubstantiated.

Guards are required to report all uses of force, and Guantanamo prisoners can file complaints with the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has regular access to them.

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