US soldier convicted of Iraq abuse

A US military panel has convicted Private Lynndie England on six out of seven counts of mistreating Iraqi prisoners at the notorious Abu Ghraib jail near Baghdad.

Only non-ranking soldiers, such as England, have faced justice
Only non-ranking soldiers, such as England, have faced justice

The panel of five officers only cleared the 22-year-old private on Monday of conspiring to maltreat a prisoner in the incident which made her infamous – holding a dog leash tied to the neck of a naked prisoner.

But she could still face 10 years in prison. A sentencing hearing was to start later in the day.

The scandal brought international condemnation of the United States as it struggled to defend its March 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq.

England became the public face of the scandal after photographs, taken in October and November of 2003, of the soldier holding a leash attached to a naked prisoner were shown around the world.

She sat silently in the court-room as the verdict was read. Unlike her first trial, neither her parents nor her baby, fathered by abuse ring-leader Charles Graner, were present.

Legal defence

England’s lawyers had argued that a learning disability and England’s compliant personality led her to follow instructions from the charismatic Graner.

The prosecution argued that England was having fun while she stepped on the toes of naked prisoners forced to form a human pyramid and posed for pictures pointing at the genitals of naked, hooded Iraqis.

They have also argued that all US soldiers are given sufficient training to know that physical and mental abuse of prisoners is against the law.

The prison abuse scandal evoked
global outrage

During the court-martial, Graner testified that he and England did nothing wrong when he told her to hold the leash while he took a photograph which he purportedly argued would be used for training purposes.

Her first court-martial was declared a mistrial in May because of similar statements by Graner. The judge said there could not be a conspiracy of one person.

The new panel found England guilty of conspiring with four other soldiers to maltreat prisoners by stripping them naked and placing them in a human pyramid.


England was found guilty of four counts of maltreatment of detainees for posing with a detainee in a picture with the leash around his neck, pointing a finger at the word “rapeist” (sic) written on the exposed buttocks of a prisoner, posing for a photo with naked prisoners forced to form a human pyramid and by posing for a photo pointing at the genitals of a naked detainee.

England was found guilty of committing an indecent act while posing for a photograph with a group of detainees who had been forced to masturbate in a corridor of the jail in the Baghdad suburbs.

The private is the ninth and last soldier charged in the Abu Ghraib scandal.

No officer has been tried, though the prison’s former commander, army reserve brigadier general Janis Karpinski, and military intelligence officer colonel Thomas Pappas were punished in nonjudicial proceedings.

Source: AFP

More from News
Most Read