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Court-Martial for GI in Abuse Scandal

September 28, 2004|From Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — Pfc. Lynndie R. England, the soldier seen in some of the most notorious photos with naked Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, will face a court-martial in January on charges of abusing detainees, the Army said Monday.

The 21-year-old reservist will be tried on 13 counts of abuse and six counts of indecent acts, said Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, commander of the 18th Airborne Corps at Ft. Bragg, where the trial is scheduled for Jan. 17-28.

England did not enter a plea when she was arraigned Friday. She faces a prison sentence of up to 38 years, a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances if convicted.

The abuse charges include three counts of assault in which she is said to have stepped on the hands and feet of Iraqi detainees. Another abuse charge includes conspiring to commit maltreatment of a detainee by posing in a photo holding a leash around the naked prisoner's neck.

The indecent acts include wrongfully creating sexually explicit photographs of herself and disobeying an order given by a noncommissioned officer. Those charges do not involve Iraqi prisoners.

England became a focal point of the scandal after the release of photos of her smiling and posing with nude prisoners stacked in a pyramid, pointing and flashing a thumb's up, and holding a detainee on a dog leash.

The defense said England, who was not assigned to the cellblocks at Abu Ghraib, was asked by military intelligence agents to help "soften up" prisoners for interrogation.

Vines, in deciding on a court-martial, reinstated two assault counts that the hearing officer, Col. Denise J. Arn, had recommended be dropped. Arn recommended a court-martial on 17 counts, but cited a concern about the "sufficiency of proof of the allegations" for the other two.

In a report, Arn said England, a reservist with the 372nd Military Police Company of Cresaptown, Md., had largely been led astray by older soldiers in her unit, particularly her former boyfriend, Spc. Charles A. Graner Jr. Attorneys say Graner is the father of the child England expects to deliver in October.

Attorneys for England did not immediately return calls seeking comment Monday.

England and Graner are among seven members of the company charged in connection with abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison late last year.

One soldier has already pleaded guilty and is serving a year in prison. Another is set to enter a guilty plea in October.

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