WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Defense Department will release "a substantial number" of photographs showing abuse of prisoners at prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The release will be in response to an open-records lawsuit filed by the ACLU, the group said in a written statement. The statement released late Thursday said the photos were taken at facilities other than the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.
"These photographs provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by U.S. personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib," Amrit Singh, an ACLU attorney, said in the release. The photos are to be released by May 28, the ACLU said.
The Department of Defense announced in a letter addressed to the federal court on Thursday that it would release the photos.
In a copy of the letter posted on the ACLU's Web site, acting U.S. Attorney Lev L. Dassin said that 21 photographs would be released and that the government "also is processing for release a substantial number of other images."
The lawsuit was filed in 2004 after the Bush administration denied a 2003 open-records request by the ACLU.
The 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled last year that the photos should be released. The Defense Department will not appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, Dassin said in the letter.
Attempts by CNN to reach the White House and Department of Defense for comment were not immediately successful.
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