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Middle East

US soldier who abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib refuses to apologise for her actions


The grainy photographs of a fresh-faced young woman posing with a smile in front of naked and bloodied Iraqi prisoners shocked the world upon their release. But eight years on, the former US soldier at the centre of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal shows no remorse for her actions.

Lynndie England was one of several members of the military police who appeared in images that showed the torture and abuse of prisoners at the prison in 2004. Among the photographs were images of naked prisoners being intimidated by dogs, dragged around on a leash, piled into a human pyramid and hooded and attached to wires.

The scandal led to a surge in anti-American sentiment in Iraq and President George W. Bush admitted that the scandal had disgraced the United States, and said it constituted the worst US mistake in Iraq.

But in an interview this week, the 28-year-old from West Virginia was unrepentant. "Their lives are better," she told The Daily. "They got the better end of the deal. They weren't innocent. They're trying to kill us, and you want me to apologise to them? It's like saying sorry to the enemy."

A few months after the images emerged, an American contractor named Nick Berg was captured and beheaded in retaliation. This, said Ms England, was something she did regret. "I think about it all the time, indirect deaths that were my fault. Losing people on our side because of me coming out on a picture," she said.

Ms England, who was 21 at the time of the abuse, was dishonourably discharged from military service after the photographs emerged, and served half of a three-year sentence for maltreating prisoners.

Ms England spoke of her fears about people trying to exact revenge for the abuse. "You wonder why I'm always looking over my shoulder," she said.