Family of Iraq Abuse Whistleblower Threatened
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Relatives of the U.S. soldier who sounded the alarm about abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison said on Monday the family was living in protective custody because of death threats against them.
Reservist military police officer Staff Sgt. Joseph Darby alerted U.S. Army investigators about the abuse by fellow soldiers of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, a move his wife says has angered people in their community in western Maryland.
“People were mean, saying he was a walking dead man, he was walking around with a bull’s eye on his head. It was scary,” said Bernadette Darby from Corriganville, Maryland.
Mrs. Darby said it was difficult living in protective custody, and she missed her privacy. She did not say who was providing the protection.
“There’s always someone with you,” she told ABC’s “Good Morning America” show.
Despite the threats, Mrs. Darby she believed her husband made the right choice exposing the abuse.
“Joe is the type of person to take what is going on around him and be like, ‘How would I feel if that was my wife?’ … He just could not live with himself knowing that that was happening and he did not do anything about it,” she said.
Darby’s sister-in-law, Maxine Carroll, said people had written graffiti on her fence but she also applauded what her brother-in-law did and said she was horrified by a series of graphic photographs Darby handed over to investigators.
“That’s not what we are there for (in Iraq). We are there to show them the right way. When Joe can talk, then that is what he will say,” she said.
In testimony this month at a hearing for one of the soldiers accused of abusing prisoners, Darby said he struggled with the decision to turn over the photos because he was friendly with one of the accused.
What he saw on the CDs containing the photos, he said, “violated everything I personally believed in and everything I had been taught about the rules of war.”