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Abu Ghraib, 2003 | Unknown photographer

An unidentified detainee at the US-administered Abu Ghraib prison.

Abu Ghraib: the name of the Iraqi prison has become synonymous with the shocking cases of prisoner abuse that took place there following the US-led invasion in 2003.

Accounts of physical, psychological and sexual abuse committed by US personnel became public in 2004, leading to an investigation and convictions by court martial of service corps involved. Yet it was the stark image of this prisoner -- anonymous, arms outstretched -- that became symbolic of a wider sense of unease about the consequences of the "coalition" presence in Iraq.

In an interview with the Arabic satellite news channel al-Hurra in May 2004, President Bush described the abuse as abhorrent and said that we:

must understand that what took place in that prison does not represent the America that I know . . . In a democracy everything is not perfect -- mistakes are made.

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This image features in the 50 Greatest Political Photographs (part one) special double issue of the NS. You can order your copy here.

The judges were Jason Cowley, Jonathan Dimbleby, Stuart Franklin, Rebecca McClelland and Jon Snow.