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Convicted soldier now back in Iraq

The ex-sergeant was sentenced for abusing Abu Ghraib prisoners.

November 03, 2006|From the Associated Press

FT. BRAGG, N.C. — An Army dog handler convicted of abusing detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has returned to the country with his military police unit, a spokesman said Thursday.

Spc. Santos A. Cardona boarded a plane Monday at Pope Air Force Base, which is adjacent to Ft. Bragg, for the trip to Iraq.

Cardona is assigned to the 23rd Military Police Company, said Maj. James Crabtree, a spokesman for the 18th Airborne Corps, headquartered at Ft. Bragg.

Crabtree said it wasn't known exactly what Cardona's job would be. The unit will focus on law enforcement, detainee operations and route security and, to a lesser extent, training Iraqi police.

"We don't know what he will be doing," Crabtree said.

"We don't normally discuss individuals who will be deploying overseas. We speak in terms of units."

A military jury at Ft. Meade, Md., sentenced Cardona in June to 90 days of hard labor with no prison time. He was convicted of using his dog to threaten a former Baath Party member at the prison. At the time a sergeant, he also was reduced in rank, given a pay cut and ordered to give up $600 a month for a year.

He was one of 11 soldiers convicted of crimes related to prisoner abuse at the prison in late 2003 and early 2004.

He was convicted of dereliction of duty and aggravated assault after he was accused of letting his shepherd dog bark inches from the face of a prisoner kneeling in front of him.

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