Army Pfc. Lynndie England, whose smiling poses in photos of detainee abuse at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison made her the face of the scandal, was convicted Sept. 26 by a military jury at Ft. Hood, TX. England, 22, was convicted on one charge of conspiracy, four charges of maltreating detainees and one charge of committing an indecent act. She was acquitted on a second conspiracy charge. The jury of five male Army officers took about two hours to reach its decision. Her case now moves to the sentencing phase, to be determined by the same jury. She faces a maximum 10 years in military prison.
England’s trial is the last for a group of nine Army reservists charged with abuse of prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib. Two others have been convicted and the remaining six made plea deals. Several of those soldiers testified at England’s trial.
Prosecutors used graphic photos of England to support their claim that she was a lead figure in the abuse conspiracy. One depicts England leading a naked detainee on a leash. In others, she smiles for the camera while pointing at prisoners in humiliating poses.
They also pointed to her statement to Army investigators in January 2004 that the abuse was done to amuse the guards at Abu Ghraib. “The accused knew what she was doing,” said Capt. Chris Graveline, the lead prosecutor. “She was laughing and joking…all for her own sick humor.”
Capt. Jonathan Crisp, England’s lawyer, countered that she was only trying to please her soldier boyfriend, then-Cpl. Charles Graner Jr. “She was a follower, she was an individual who was smitten with Graner,” Crisp said. “She just did whatever he wanted her to do.”
England has said that Graner, now serving a 10-year sentence, fathered her young son. The defense contended that England suffered from depression and has an overly compliant personality, making her a heedless participant in the abuse. (AP, Sept. 26, via TruthOut)
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