updated 11/3/2006 12:24:29 PM ET 2006-11-03T17:24:29

A soldier convicted in connection with prisoner abuse in Iraq was sent this week with his military police unit for another tour in Iraq, but the Army on Friday stopped him before he got there, a spokesman said.

Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said the soldier, Spec. Santos A. Cardona, deployed on Monday from Fort Bragg, N.C., with the 23rd Military Police Company. He and his unit were in Kuwait preparing for movement into Iraq when the Army decided that for safety reasons he would not go into Iraq.

"We are extremely concerned, in light of the publicity about his situation, about his personal safety," Boyce said. "So for the good of the soldier, as well as the situation, he has been stopped in Kuwait pending review by the chain of command."

In a court martial this summer, Cardona was convicted of dereliction of duty and aggravated assault for allowing his police dog to bark within inches of a prisoner's face at Abu Ghraib prison. The Army said he did 90 days of hard labor, was reduced in rank from sergeant to specialist and ordered to pay $600 per month in fines for 12 months. His sentence did not include jail time, and after his 90 days of hard labor he chose to remain in the Army, although he is no longer assigned dog handling duties in his MP unit, Boyce said.

The Army believes his personal safety, and potentially the safety of others in his unit, would be endangered if he deployed into Iraq because he might be targeted by insurgents who know of his link to the Abu Ghraib abuse.

The story was first reported by Time magazine.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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