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The World | THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ

Lawyers to Call Rumsfeld, Cheney to GI's Abuse Hearing

June 04, 2004|David Kelly | Times Staff Writer

DENVER — Attorneys representing Army Pfc. Lynndie England, who is charged in the torture and abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, said Thursday that they planned to call Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld as witnesses at her preliminary hearing this month.

At a news conference in Denver, the defense team said it had assembled a list of 136 people to summon when England appears at Ft. Bragg, N.C., on June 22. At the Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a grand jury inquiry, evidence will be heard to determine whether England should be prosecuted.

If she is tried and convicted of charges of abuse, conspiracy and discrediting the armed forces, the 21-year-old, who is five months pregnant, faces 15 1/2 years in prison.

England's lawyers acknowledge that they can't force Cheney or Rumsfeld to appear because there is no subpoena power for Article 32 hearings.

The best they can hope for is that the two might be required as public servants to appear if called.

President Bush is not on the list, attorney Rose Mary Zapor said, because there was no evidence that he was involved in the chain of command that she believes ordered England and at least six other guards at the prison near Baghdad to "soften up" Iraqi detainees before interrogation.

One guard, Army Spc. Jeremy Sivits, pleaded guilty last month to abusing prisoners and received a one-year prison term.

England, of West Virginia, is shown in photos grinning in front of naked Iraqi prisoners. In one photo, she is shown holding a leash tied to a collar around a prisoner lying on the floor.

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