U.S. soldier convicted in Iraqi prison abuse scandal
Fri, 14 Jan 2005
FORT HOOD, TEXAS - The first U.S. soldier to be tried in connection with the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison was convicted Friday on five charges related to abusing Iraqi detainees.
Army Spc. Charles Graner Jr., the reputed ringleader of the guards involved in the prison abuse, faces up to 15½ years behind bars.
U.S. Army Spc. Charles Graner (AP photo)
He faced 10 counts under five separate charges: assault, conspiracy, maltreatment of detainees, committing indecent acts and dereliction of duty. He was found guilty on all counts, except that one assault count was downgraded to battery.
During the five-day trial, the 36-year-old Pennsylvania reservist was accused of stacking naked prisoners in a human pyramid and later ordering them to masturbate while other soldiers took photographs.
He also allegedly punched one man in the head hard enough to knock him out, and struck an injured prisoner with a collapsible metal stick.
One Syrian prisoner characterized Graner as the "primary torturer," who whistled, sang and laughed while brutalizing him. He said he was forced to eat pork and drink alcohol in violation of his Muslim faith.
An Iraqi detainee said he was stripped by Graner and other Abu Ghraib guards, stacked up naked in a human pyramid while female soldiers watched, and later told to masturbate.
The defence had argued that Graner and other guards were following orders from intelligence agents at the prison and were told to use physical violence to prepare detainees for questioning.
Photos from the prison showing naked detainees posed in sexual positions, hooked to electrodes and tethered to a leash sparked international outrage.