More Charges In Abu Ghraib Scandal

generic for iraqi prisoner abuse, Iraqi flag in front of Abu Ghraib Prison guard tower, Baghdad, Iraq, on texture, partial graphic AP

A high-ranking Army officer will be criminally charged in connection with the abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, his attorney says.

By Friday, Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan is expected to be charged by the Army with dereliction of duty, conduct unbecoming an officer, lying to investigators and other crimes, according to his attorney, Samuel Spitzberg. Jordan would be the highest-ranking officer to face charges in connection with abuse of prisoners at the facility.

The Washington Post and The New York Times reported about plans to charge Jordan on their Web sites Tuesday.

"We're thankful that decision has finally been made, and we look forward to finally reviewing the evidence and making some decisions," Spitzberg told the Post.

The abuse scandal broke in April 2004 when pictures of prisoner abuse were leaked to the news media. Prisoners were beaten, sexually humiliated and forced to assume painful positions while being photographed.

Army spokesman Col. Joseph Curtin told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Jordan has not been charged. After any charges, the next step would be a preliminary hearing to determine whether a court-martial or other action was warranted.

Jordan, a reservist who has remained on active duty for three years, is currently stationed in the Washington area, Spitzberg said.

"We've not had an opportunity to review the evidence, and (we) look forward to doing that and determining whether there is a direct link with the abuses at Abu Ghraib," Spitzberg told the Times.

Jordan was not making any public statement, his attorney said. Efforts by the AP Tuesday night to reach Spitzberg were not successful.

The public release of the photos in television and newspaper reports caused condemnation worldwide and triggered months of investigations, recriminations and a re-examination of U.S. policy on prisoners.

Last week, A military judge allowed defense lawyers to call a general to testify at a court martial in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. However, the judge barred the defense from summoning Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would become the highest-ranking military officer to testify in the cases stemming from mistreatment of inmates.

At a pretrial hearing in the case of Army Sgt. Santos A. Cardona, a defense lawyer said Rumsfeld personally dispatched Miller to Abu Ghraib to review interrogation procedures as the U.S. military sought better intelligence from prisoners amid a growing insurgency in Iraq.

In March, Army dog handler Michael J. Smith was sentenced to six months behind bars for using his snarling canine to torment prisoners.

The military jury could have sentenced Smith, 24, to more than eight years in prison.

Nine other soldiers have been convicted of abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib. Among them, former Cpl. Charles Graner Jr., received the stiffest sentence — 10 years in prison.
  • Sean Alfano

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