The International Committee of the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2002/11/18/39610.html ' target=_blank>Red Cross gathered "credible" reports about U.S. personnel at the Guantanamo Bay naval base disrespecting the Quran and raised the issue with the Pentagon several times, a group spokesman said Thursday.
Simon Schorno said the allegations were made by detainees to Red Cross representatives who visited the detention facility throughout 2002 and 2003.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday the Pentagon in 2003 issued strict guidelines on how U.S. personnel should handle the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/18/87/344/9992_muslims.html ' target=_blank>Quran.
Schorno said the Red Cross heard no more allegations about mishandling of the Quran after the guidelines were issued, tells CNN News.
The Pentagon confirmed that it had received these reports from the committee, but characterized the incidents as minor and rare and said that detainees themselves had also mishandled the Koran.
Bryan Whitman, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said that Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, commander of the United States Southern Command, which oversees Guantбnamo, was investigating reports of the Koran's being mishandled and that the results of his investigation would soon be made public.
There have been previous accounts of mishandling of the Koran, but the committee's is the first from an independent source that has access to the detention camp.