Abu Ghraib accused in plea bargain

A US army reservist accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners has agreed to plead guilty to reduced charges as part of a deal with military prosecutors, his attorney says.

    Davis appeared in one of the 1800 photos documenting abuse

    Sergeant Javal Davis, formerly of Roselle, New Jersey, had faced up to 8 1/2 years in prison and a dishonourable discharge on three charges connected with the maltreatment of detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. 

    "There is a pretrial agreement," said attorney Paul Bergrin on Thursday. Under the deal, he will be charged with simple assault and rendering false official statements, Bergrin said. He declined to comment on what penalties Davis now faced. 

    Davis, 26, was scheduled to face a court martial in Fort Hood, Texas, next Tuesday. He faced charges including maltreating detainees, dereliction of duty and assaulting prisoners by stomping on the toes and fingers of Iraqi inmates. 

    A base spokesman said he was aware of the reports but would not confirm details. "It would still have to go before a jury," said Dan Hassett. 

    Garner's court martial

    The plea deal came two weeks after Specialist Charles Graner received a 10-year prison sentence for his role in stacking up naked prisoners into a human pyramid, leashing a naked prisoner and other abuses at Abu Ghraib. 

    Charles Graner was given a
    10-year sentence for abuse

    During Graner's court martial, a series of witnesses testified that they saw Davis, whom they described as tall and well-built, stomp on the hands and fingers of hooded inmates lying on the floor before they were stacked into a human pyramid. 

    Davis was finally told to stop the abuse, witnesses said - apparently the only such order in a late-night incident that ended with guards forcing prisoners to masturbate and simulate fellatio. 

    "I saw Sergeant Davis walking around the pile and stomping on their toes," Specialist Matthew Wisdom testified. "I made a comment, 'What happens if you break one of their toes?'"

    Davis is one of seven reservists from the army's 372nd Military Police Company charged with abuses at Abu Ghraib. He appeared in just one of the 1800 photos documenting abuse at the notorious Iraqi prison outside Baghdad, Bergrin said. 

    Lawyers for Davis had argued there was a breakdown of leadership and that their clients were scapegoats for the failures of a system that reached the highest levels of the military bureaucracy and the Bush administration.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.