Army Pfc. Lynndie England, who appeared in Abu Ghraib prison photographs pointing at Iraqi prisoners’ genitals and holding a leash attached to a detainee, will face a military court hearing next month, her lawyer said Friday.
Army officials scheduled the hearing for June 21-25 at Fort Bragg, said Rose Mary Zapor of Denver, one of England’s civilian defense lawyers. A spokesman for the XVIII Airborne Corps on Friday could not immediately confirm the date or offer details of the hearing.
England faces an Article 32 hearing — the proceeding where military prosecutors present evidence and a judge decides whether to go forward with a court-martial. It is similar to a civilian grand jury.
England, now stationed at Fort Bragg, is one of seven soldiers facing military charges for suspected abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. England appears in several photographs from the prison at the heart of an international scandal.
England, 21, is charged with assaulting Iraqi detainees, conspiring with Spec. Charles Graner Jr. to mistreat the prisoners and committing an indecent act by forcing prisoners to masturbate. Graner is charged with adultery for having sex with England last October.
Zapor declined to discuss what England told investigators. But England has said in her only public interview, broadcast by a Denver television station, that her superiors gave her specific instructions on how to pose for the photos. Asked who gave the orders, she would say only, “Persons in my chain of command.”
Zapor said Army agents violated England’s rights by questioning her after she had asked for an attorney. The lawyer said she will ask a military judge to throw out England’s confession.
“She had invoked her right to counsel, and those statements are illegal. In a civilian court, those would be immediately suppressed,” Zapor said.
Defendants in military courts have the same rights to lawyers that criminal defendants have in civilian courts.
Zapor and another lawyer for England, Roy Hardy, have said they will try to determine if the commanding general in Iraq knew about the abuses.
England’s hearing may or may not be open to the public, military spokesmen said.