US soldier to face new charges

Private Lynndie England, one of the seven US soldiers accused of abusing prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, is to face new obscenity charges.

    England already faces charges for prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib

    US army spokesman Major Richard Patterson said on Saturday that five additional charges have been brought against England.

    The new charges do not involve Iraqi prisoners and relate to indecent acts and possession of sexually explicit photographs.

    "These five charges do not involve any Iraqi detainees or Iraqi nationals," Patterson said.

    Without elaborating, Patterson said the new charges are based on violations of General Order 1, which among other things, prohibits soldiers in Iraq from possessing or creating sexually explicit material.

    Sordid treatment

    England was a guard at Abu Ghraib, the prison where Iraqi detainees were subjected to inhuman torture and sexual humiliation.

    The abuse triggered a worldwide furor, after photographs of the ill-treatment came to light.

    One photograph showed England holding a leash tied around the neck of a naked Iraqi prisoner. In another, she was found giving a thumbs-up while pointing at a male prisoner's genitals.

    England is to appear before a hearing officer on Monday to add an attorney to her team, but no evidence is to be presented.

    Hearing officer Colonel Denise Arn will set a date to hear evidence. Later, she will recommend whether or not to try England before a court marital.

    The prisoner abuse scandal shamed the US and its allies and shocked the rest of the world.

    Some of the US soldiers charged with the abuse have alleged that they were only acting on orders from the top.

    Though denying any personal role in the prisoner abuse, Brig Gen Janis Karpinski - the US commander in charge of the military police unit that ran the prison - later said she had been told to treat "detainees like dogs".

    She quoted a senior military official, Major Gen Geoffrey Miller, as saying: "If you allow the prisoners to believe they are more than a dog, then you have lost control over them."

    Karpinski also claimed that interrogation techniques were approved by the office of US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld and that she met an Israeli specialist in another interrogation facility in Iraq.

    Both the US and Israel have denied her claims.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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