Washington — The Army on Friday charged the former head of the interrogation center at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq with cruelty and maltreatment, dereliction of duty and other criminal offenses for his alleged involvement in the abuse of detainees at the notorious prison in 2003 and for interfering with the abuse investigation.
Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan was charged with 12 counts of violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for seven separate offenses.
He is the highest-ranking officer at Abu Ghraib to face criminal charges.
A preliminary hearing, often referred to as the military equivalent of a grand jury investigation, will be held when Jordan's defense counsel is ready, but no date has been set, according to an announcement of the charges by the Military District of Washington.
Officers above Jordan's rank have been reprimanded and relieved of command, including Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of the U.S.-run prison system that included the Abu Ghraib compound. But none of those have faced criminal charges.
The Army charged Jordan with violating seven articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice:
- Two counts of willfully disobeying a superior officer.
- Three counts of dereliction of duty and failure to obey a regulation.
- One count of cruelty and maltreatment for actions which the Army said "did oppress Iraqi detainees, persons subject to his orders, by subjecting them to forced nudity and intimidation by military working dogs" between mid-September and late December 2003.
- Two counts of making false official statements.
- Two counts of fraud.
- One count of wrongful interference with an investigation, and one count of making a false statement.