Abu Ghraib abuse ringleader found guilty

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The Independent US

The army reservist found guilty of abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq said at his sentencing hearing yesterday that he was merely following orders. The soldier, Specialist Charles Graner, received a 10-year sentence after being convicted on 10 counts of prisoner abuse at the end of a four-day trial in Texas.

The army reservist found guilty of abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq said at his sentencing hearing yesterday that he was merely following orders. The soldier, Specialist Charles Graner, received a 10-year sentence after being convicted on 10 counts of prisoner abuse at the end of a four-day trial in Texas.

Prosecutors described him as the ringleader of the scandal that shocked public opinion worldwide a year ago.

As the court moved into the sentencing phase yesterday, Graner took the stand for the first time and insisted that he had been corrupted by his superiors who were running the prison, military and civilian intelligence officers who wanted the inmates "softened up" before being interrogated.

Graner, 36, said that he had originally resisted the orders and had repeatedly complained to his superiors about the harsh treatment he was being forced to mete out. But the prosecutor convinced the jurors, who took only five hours to reach their verdict, that the soldier had grossly overstepped the rules.

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