C a s t I r o n W i ng s
21st October 2004
A US army reservist who pleaded guilty to five charges of abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail near Baghdad has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Sgt Ivan Frederick admitted conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment, assault and committing an indecent act.
A court martial in Baghdad ordered that Frederick's rank be reduced to private, that he forfeit pay and be given a dishonorable discharge from the army.
Frederick's lawyer said the sentence was excessive and he planned to appeal.
"We will seek to try to achieve a sentence reduction," Gary Myers was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.
Judge Col James Pohl initially sentenced Frederick to 10 years imprisonment, but reduced it to eight years because of a plea bargain.
Frederick, 38, the third US soldier to be convicted so far and the highest-ranking to be charged, admitted forcing detainees to masturbate.
The prosecutor, Major Michael Holley, told the court it had been a simple case of right and wrong.
"He's an adult and capable of telling, as we learned, the difference between right and wrong," he told the court.
"How much training do you need to learn that it's wrong to force a man to masturbate?"
But Mr Myers argued that the military bore a degree of responsibility.
"Punish him, yes. But please try to understand the defence's point of view that there is corporate responsibility," he said.
"We discovered that he has no abhorrent tendencies."
Two other reservists, Sgt Javal Davis and Specialist Charles Graner, also face hearings this week.
In total, seven military police and an intelligence officer have been charged in connection with the abuse.
Frederick, a military policeman and a prison officer at a state jail in Virginia, told the court he knew what he was doing.
"I was wrong about what I did and I shouldn't have done it," he said.
"I knew it was wrong at the time because I knew it was a form of abuse."
He described life inside the prison, saying prisoners were stripped naked, dressed in women's underwear and otherwise physically and mentally abused.
He admitted that he had helped to place wires on a detainee's hands and told him he would be electrocuted if he fell off a box.
Frederick also said he had forced a group of detainees to masturbate while other soldiers watched and took pictures, and described watching a fellow soldier jumping on prisoners' hands and feet.
He said he could have stopped the abuse but did not, and instead punched one prisoner who had apparently attacked a female soldier. The prisoner needed resuscitation.
At Frederick's hearing, an Iraqi man took the stand and said Frederick had made him masturbate in front of the other prisoners.
"I was crying. I wanted to kill myself," he said.
He said he and other prisoners then had to sleep naked with bags on their heads in cells flooded with water, adding that he still felt humiliated by the ordeal.
The US says it has made efforts to improve conditions at the prison since the abuses came to light.
More than 2,000 people are still being held there indefinitely without charge.
Despite questions about how high up the chain of command these abuses were sanctioned, no senior army officials outside the prison have been held responsible and there have been no high-level resignations.
Is 8 years long enough for five accounts of vertual torture?
GF makes me horny
19th October 2004
I feel like each of the people responsible in this horrible incident deserve at least 20 years, no less. They dishonored our country, and caused an innocent man to lose his head in retaliation. But more then that, they tortured and humiliated people in a sick way. They deserve to be spit on in my opinion.
Voice of joy and sunshine
26th May 2003
It should have been life. And you know what I mean when I talk about a 'life' sentence.
2nd October 2003
Heads should be rolling further up the chain of command too.
GF makes me horny
19th October 2004
I don't believe these people should be killed over this horrible incident. They did not kill these Iraqi prisoners. However, they do deserve some sort of harsher punishment. I don't feel as if eight years in prison can justify what they have done.
Note to self: Find pants.
19th October 2002
Eight years of hard labor, maybe.
29th August 2004
As !moof said, hard labor. Federal Prisons make you work hard everyday, unlike civilian prisons which is just a forced vacation from society. I also think that 8 years of hard labor is not enough. It should be somewhere in the neighborhood (sp.) of 20 for the actual offenders. If someone ordered them to do it then 40 for the orderer. The supervisors of the prison should also get 40. If the people higher up the chain, not located at the prison, did not know then they should just be punished but not criminally.