Soldier given eight-year jail term for Abu Ghraib abuse

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A US Staff Sergeant was sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday for sexually and physically abusing detainees at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad. Sgt Ivan Frederick, the most senior enlisted man charged in the prison abuse scandal, pleaded guilty to five charges of abuseat the prison last year, including making three prisoners masturbate and punching another so hard in the chest that he needed resuscitation.

A US Staff Sergeant was sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday for sexually and physically abusing detainees at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad. Sgt Ivan Frederick, the most senior enlisted man charged in the prison abuse scandal, pleaded guilty to five charges of abuseat the prison last year, including making three prisoners masturbate and punching another so hard in the chest that he needed resuscitation.

Sgt Frederick, 38, was stripped of his rank, ordered to forfeit pay and dishonourably discharged. Michael Holley, the military prosecutor, welcomed the punishment but called on authorities to consider the "corporate responsibility" for widespread abuses. The court martial in Baghdad was told abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail was directed by the CIA and was not the just the work of a few "bad apples" as the Pentagon claimed.

The trial also heard orders were received from the military high command to "soften up" detainees - further undermining claims from Washington that the offences committed against Iraqis were by soldiers acting on their own initiatives.

In evidence considered highly embarrassing for the US administration, Captain Donald Reese, a military police commander at Abu Ghraib, described how CIA agents seemed to have a free run of the prison: "They came in at any time of the day. They came in through the back door and put prisoners in one of the cells. We were told by OGA [Other Government Agencies] that they would be back for them again later. Sometimes they wore civilian clothes, sometimes military uniforms. Military intelligence sometimes had their name tags removed."

Capt Reese said, shortly after his arrival in October 2003, he saw detainees being held naked in the prison and wondered "what on earth" was going on. "I was told it was the actions of the military intelligence community and it was an accepted practice", he stated.

A Chief Warrant Officer, Kevin Kramer, from military intelligence, said he received an email from US command headquarters in the August before the more severe abuse began, demandinginterrogations be "toughened up". "The gloves are coming off gentlemen" it read and went on to say that a captain Boltz "wants the detainees broken". "We were told we weren't getting the intelligence they expected. Therefore we must not be conducting enough to get the intelligence... They were trying to get us to do more aggressive interrogations," Capt Kramer told the court.

Comments