Now Playing: Abu Ghraib new name is Baghdad Central Prison.
Now, nearly five years after its role in one of the world's biggest human rights abuse scandals, Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail has re-opened with a promise of decent conditions for inmates - including a gym, computer chatroom and hair salon.
The prison, which earned global notoriety in 2004 after US jailers filmed themselves tormenting and sexually abusing Iraqi prisoners, was shut down two years ago when America handed control of it to the new Iraqi government. Iraqi and US officials, who believed its closure would end what had become a symbolic rallying point for the anti-US insurgency, moved its inmates to another facility on the Kuwait border.
But yesterday, after a fresh lick of paint and extensive refurbishing, it officially opened its doors again, purporting to offer conditions more familiar to inmates of a prison in Scandinavia. As well as modern medical and dental facilities, there is a courtyard for visiting families that contains a children's playground and water fountain. Inmates also have a mosque, and will be able to sew their own clothes in a small sewing factory. Mindful of its fearsome reputation, Iraqi officials in charge of the makeover have even changed its name from Abu Ghraib to Baghdad Central Prison.
"The prison is officially open and we have received inmates. Hundreds are present," said prison director general Alsharif al-Murtadha Abdul al-Mutalib, who yesterday invited reporters to tour the jail, which is set behind watchtower-guarded walls in one of Baghdad's western suburbs. It will eventually be home to around 14,000 prisoners.
In all, 11 US soldiers were convicted of breaking military laws and five others were disciplined over the torture allegations in Abu Ghraib. American authorities implemented a series of reforms in the aftermath, although they still faced complaints about prolonged detentions without charges.
Conditions were far harsher there during Saddam's time, however, when the double gallows in the jail's execution chamber was in regular use, and cells were so over-crowded that inmates used to have to take turns to sleep. Just ahead of the US invasion in 2003, Saddam granted an amnesty to some 60,000 inmates that it was then holding, adding greatly to the law and order problems that beset Baghdad when his government finally fell.
Under a bilateral security agreement that calls for a full US withdrawal by the end of 2011, American commanders have to hand over around 14,000 Iraqis that they are still detaining as suspected insurgents or militia members.
Most of those detainees are expected to be freed without charge, but some will face trials under Iraqi law. Despite the promises made by Iraqi officials during yesterday's re-opening ceremony, human rights groups say prisoners in Iraqi custody are frequently beaten, abused and denied due process.
Last year, the Iraqi government said it would turn a section of the 280-acre prison into a museum documenting Saddam's crimes, but not the abuses committed by US guards.