A spokesman at Fort Hood in central Texas where England is to be court-martialled said on Friday that the new charges, nine in all ranging from cruelty to committing indecent acts, would expose her to a maximum of 16 years in prison.

Previously, she faced 19 charges that could have brought up to 38 years in prison.

The new charges were filed last week but not made public.

No explanation was given for the reduction, but in the only trial so far in the scandal the alleged abuse leader and England's ex-boyfriend Charles Graner was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

England, 22, became the public face of the scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, because of her appearance in some of the most abusive photos.

The photos showed her pointing at the genitals of a naked male prisoner, holding a naked detainee on a leash and posing beside naked prisoners forming a human pyramid.

Six people accused in the scandal have pleaded guilty and accepted punishment that ranged from no prison time to eight years.