Abu Ghraib Reopens With Hair Salon, Playground

Refurbished facility still inspiring controversy
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2009 4:02 PM CST
Abu Ghraib Reopens With Hair Salon, Playground
A sewing workshop is seen at a renovated Abu Ghraib prison, which has a new name and officials promise more humane treatment of prisoners.   (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

It became synonymous with torture, first under Saddam Hussein and then under American rule, but now Abu Ghraib has a new name and world-class facilities, the Telegraph reports. Baghdad Central Prison opened yesterday with a gym, hair salon, modern medical and dental facilities, and a playground for inmates’ children. Currently home to hundreds, the prison will eventually house 14,000 prisoners.

Part of the prison will become a museum documenting Saddam’s crimes, but victims want it demolished entirely, the New York Times reports. “Yes, this prison has a bad reputation,” an Iraqi official conceded, “but this is not an excuse in itself to demolish this prison. We need it.” Another told the AP, “We turned it into something like a resort, not prison.”
(More Iraq stories.)

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