IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Trial dates set in Abu Ghraib abuse case

A judge on Friday ordered two U.S. Army reservists accused in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal to stand trial in Baghdad.
/ Source: The Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A military judge ordered two U.S. Army reservists to stand trial in Baghdad for allegedly abusing Iraqi inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Spc. Charles Graner Jr., 36, of Uniontown, Pa., will face a court-martial on Jan. 7, while Sgt. Javal Davis, 26, of Maryland, is tentatively set to be tried Feb. 1.

The two men, of the 372nd Military Police Company of Cresaptown, Maryland, are among eight charged in the abuse scandal that erupted in April after publication of photos worldwide showing U.S. soldiers abusing and humiliating Iraqi detainees.

Graner was photographed giving the thumbs-up sign behind a pile of naked Iraqi detainees and cocking his fist as if to punch a hooded prisoner. He has been accused of jumping on detainees as they were piled on the floor, stomping the hands and bare feet of several prisoners and punching one inmate in the temple so hard he lost consciousness.

He has been charged with conspiracy to maltreat detainees, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of prisoners, assault, committing indecent acts, obstruction of justice and adultery.

Graner’s civilian defense attorney, Guy Womack, maintains that Graner was told by high-ranking soldiers to toughen up on interrogations and “loosen up restraints.”

Immunity turned down
The judge, Col. James Pohl, set the trial date during a hearing in which he turned down a defense motion to grant immunity to several people to testify without fear of incrimination.

The list included Col. Thomas Pappas, commander of the Military Intelligence Brigade assigned to Abu Ghraib when the offenses allegedly occurred. The low-ranking soldiers charged in the case maintain they were acting on orders from Military Intelligence to “soften up” prisoners for interrogation.

Pohl also ordered another pre-trial hearing in the Graner case to be held here Dec. 3. Davis will also have another hearing on Dec. 4.

Graner faces adultery charges for having sex with another soldier accused in the Abu Ghraib scandal, Pfc. Lynndie England. She was sent back to the United States before the scandal broke in April and gave birth to Graner’s son this month at Fort Bragg, N.C.

On Thursday, Staff Sgt. Ivan “Chip” Frederick, 38, of Buckingham, Va., the highest ranking soldier charged, was sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in abusing and humiliating Iraqi detainees — the stiffest punishment given so far in the scandal.

Seven members of the 372nd Military Police Company of Cresaptown, Md., have been charged in the scandal. Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits of Hyndman, Pa., is already serving a one-year sentence after pleading guilty in May to three counts.

In addition, Spc. Armin Cruz, 24, a military intelligence soldier, was sentenced last month to eight months for his part in the scandal.