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Archive for Tuesday, September 27, 2005

England convicted in Abu Ghraib abuse case

September 27, 2005

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— 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 Monday by a military jury on six of seven counts.

England, 22, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, four counts of maltreating detainees and one count of committing an indecent act. She was acquitted on a second conspiracy count.

The jury of five male Army officers took about two hours to reach its verdict. Her case now moves to the sentencing phase, which will begin today.

England tried to plead guilty in May to the same counts she faced this month in exchange for an undisclosed sentencing cap, but a judge threw out the plea deal. She now faces a maximum of nine years in prison.

England stood at attention as the verdict was read by the jury foreman. She showed no obvious emotion afterward.

Asked for comment after the verdict, defense lawyer Capt. Jonathan Crisp said, "The only reaction I can say is, 'I understand.'"

England's trial is the last for a group of nine Army reservists charged with mistreating prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, a scandal that damaged the United States' image in the Muslim world despite condemnation of the abuse by President Bush. Two other troops were convicted in trials and the remaining six made plea deals.

Prosecutors used graphic photos of England to support their contention that she was a key figure in the abuse conspiracy. One photo shows England holding a naked detainee on a leash. In others, she smiles and points to prisoners in humiliating poses.

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