Thursday, September 22, 2005

Court hears of Abu Ghraib abuse

Court hears of Abu Ghraib abuse

Lynndie England's earlier trial collapsed at the sentencing hearingA US soldier being re-tried for her role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal enjoyed abusing Iraqi inmates, an ex-colleague has told a court.
Private Lynndie England found the sexual humiliation of Iraqis funny, the military court in Texas heard.
Prosecution lawyers are aiming to disprove defence claims that she fell under the influence of senior soldiers.
She faces 11 years in jail if convicted on charges of conspiracy, committing an indecent act and maltreating detainees.
Pte Jeremy Sivits - who has been sentenced to one year in prison for his own role in the abuse scandal - told the court that Pte England clearly enjoyed the abuse of prisoners.
Many were ordered to strip naked and were photographed in humiliating positions and forced to simulate sexual acts.
"She was laughing, she seemed to be having a good time with all that was going on," Pte Sivits told the court.
Referring to a famous picture showing Pte England pointing at one man's genitals, Pte Sivits said: "She walked over on her own. She still seemed to be joking around, having a good time."
Leash
The testimony contradicted defence claims made on Wednesday that Pte England was influenced at Abu Ghraib by Specialist Charles Graner, her lover at the time and since sentenced to 10 years for his role in the abuse.

Pictures such as this one showing Pte England shocked the world (AP Photo/Courtesy of The New Yorker)At her original trial in May, Pte England said that the notorious pictures were taken for the amusement of the Abu Ghraib prison guards.
However, Spc Graner told the sentencing hearing that the photographs were meant to be used as a training aid, prompting a mistrial verdict.
Photographs of Pte England laughing and pointing at naked Iraqi prisoners, and holding another naked prisoner by a leash around his neck, caused outrage around the world
Prosecutor Chuck Neill said Pte England was an active participant who enjoyed enacting the scenes portrayed on camera.
"This was simply for the amusement of Pte England and the other soldiers," he said.
Pte England entered pleas of not guilty in a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.
The trial is expected to last about a week.
Graner was found guilty on charges of assault, battery, dereliction of duty and the maltreatment of prisoners in January, and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
He is among eight soldiers sentenced on charges related to abuse at the prison.

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