Skip to comments.U.S. Soldier Gets Year Jail Term for Prisoner Abuse
Posted on 05/19/2004 9:05:21 AM PDT by freepatriot32
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A tearful U.S. soldier was sentenced to a year in jail Wednesday after pleading guilty to abusing Iraqi detainees in a scandal threatening to undermine President Bush's re-election chances.
Military policeman Jeremy Sivits, who apologized to Iraqis at the first court martial of soldiers accused of abuses which sparked worldwide outrage, was also expelled from the army.
It was not enough for Iraqis protesting outside Abu Ghraib prison, scene of the scandal that came to light when pictures were published of naked and terrified Iraqi inmates being abused and sexually humiliated.
"It's a kangaroo court, set up just to placate Iraqis," said Hala Azzawi, mother of one of some 3,000 Iraqis held at the jail near Baghdad that became notorious as a torture center during Saddam Hussein's rule.
"I wish they would get death, it's less than they deserve."
Sivits, a 24-year-old reservist with the rank of Specialist, pointed the finger at others, against whom he will testify under a plea bargain, over the abuses.
Chief among them was Specialist Charles Graner who, Sivitis said, pulled out a camera after stamping on naked prisoners.
Sivits, who faced the lightest charges of seven U.S. soldiers accused so far, confessed to pushing a prisoner into the now infamous picture of a pile of naked Iraqis.
Three more guards at the prison were arraigned on more serious charges as the abuse scandal and guerrilla violence increased pressure on Washington to hand over real power to Iraqis along with formal sovereignty on June 30. Graner, Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick and Sgt. Javal Davis all deferred pleas at hearings and will appear again on June 21.
Generals leading U.S. efforts to bring stability to Iraq before the handover of sovereignty were also questioned over the abuse scandal.
Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command, and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of ground forces in Iraq, faced the Senate Armed Services Committee along with Major General Geoffrey Miller, new head of Abu Ghraib.
"I think this issue needs to be resolved because it directly impacts American support for our effort in winning this war, and that support is clearly eroded since this thing broke," said Arizona Republican Senator John McCain.
The scandal has battered the image of the United States across the Arab world and prompted loud calls from around the globe for Washington to hand over real power to Iraqis.
CLOSE U.S. ALLIES JOIN CHORUS
Even close U.S. allies over Iraq joined the chorus after Monday's assassination of Izzedin Salim, head of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.
A group headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, accused by Washington of working for Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the car bomb.
Italy and Poland, major contributors to U.S.-led forces in Iraq, urged Washington to give Iraqis real power when it hands over sovereignty in six weeks.
The Governing Council was sending a delegation to the United Nations to demand Washington gives a new interim government more powers than intended in the June 30 handover.
U.S. officials say the abuses occurred last October and November at Abu Ghraib, involved about 20 detainees and were limited to a small number of soldiers.
The International Committee of the Red Cross and Amnesty International say they were more systematic and widespread.
Questioned by U.S. senators, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said control of military prisons would be handed to Iraqis as quickly as possible, but there was no timetable.
RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC DIVIDES
Washington says a sudden U.S. departure from Iraq would risk bloodier anarchy in a country of religious and ethnic divides.
U.S.-led forces are struggling against guerrillas, notably militiamen backing rebel Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Iraq's top Shi'ite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who rarely makes public statements, called on Sadr and U.S.-led forces this week to pull out of the holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala. But Sadr appeared to be ignoring the call.
Hospital sources said at least eight Iraqis were killed and 14 wounded in renewed fighting in Kerbala Wednesday near one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest sites.
The clashes erupted as U.S. tanks advanced near the shrine of Imam Hussein in Kerbala, one of several southern cities where Sadr's Mehdi Army militia rose up in a rebellion U.S. forces have spent weeks trying to crush.
U.S. warplanes launched strikes on the fringes of the city as tanks went within 50 yards of the shrine, ringed by a warren of narrow streets in which Sadr's fighters have taken refuge, witnesses said.
Hey, puppet government! We have the strings. Did you forget all of a sudden? Play by the rules!
Many Americans would agree with you, Ms. Azzawi. But not for the same reasons, I suspect.
"I wish they would get death, it's less than they deserve."
Sorry. American is a civilized nation. Humiliation and injury are not punishable by death. In fact, much of the time murder isn't punishable by death. And as long as loss of face is punishable by death in your country, you're going to be wallowing in poverty and either anarchy or despotism. Which, of course, you'll be blaming on us, instead of looking in a mirror.
LOL! This woman is in desperate need of some ACLU sensitivity training. "No No No. It's 'Hate the military and OPPOSE the death penalty'!"
"A tearful U.S. soldier was sentenced to a year in jail Wednesday after pleading guilty to abusing Iraqi detainees in a scandal threatening to undermine President Bush's re-election chances."
I quit reading this article after the first BIASED sentence in this report. WHY does the author feel the need to tell us that this scandal is threatening Bush's chances? WTH does it have to do with this story?
Have I mentioned lately that I really really dislike the liberal press!!!!!
Can anybody tell me what happened to the Muslim sergeant that rolled grenades into his officer's tent, killing, I believe, two people. This happened last year, and as far as I know this POS still hasn't stood trial for anything.
I was thinking the same thing. Amazing how quickly we can get things done to please other countries.
The Muslim sergeant is about to go on trial. The general idea is that he will get the death sentence.
It continues to be played down - remember he was a Muslim - killing American soldiers - betraying the country he swore to defend - the media will not want to give this press! They will keep on the prison scandal with their eyes covered, their ears covered least they see TRUTH and it smack them upside their head.
The Army seems to be going very slowly and deliberately in this case -- which makes sense.
Any time you want, just do a google search for news on SGT Hasan Akbar.
For example, here's some of the latest news:
I believe that the "Free Mumia" crowd will soon have a new hero to champion.
Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, second from left, a squad leader with the Florida National Guard, leaves court Friday, May 21, 2004, escorted by Military Police after he was sentenced to a year in prison and a bad conduct discharge, in Fort Stewart, Ga., in this photo released by the U.S. Army. Earlier Friday, Mejia, a U.S. soldier who said he left his infantry unit in Iraq (news - web sites) to protest an ``oil-driven'' war, was convicted of desertion. (AP Photo/U.S. Army, Pfc Benjamin Brody)
And this is the second paragraph.
How did this guy get in the Army? He's a sandinista. Joined in 1995 ..... Never mind it was under klintoons watch.
An investigative committee will be set up immediately with hearings to follow, examining how the military's sentencing can be adjusted to avoid any future "humiliation" of service members.
Rewording of "bad conduct discharge" is being considered.
Look at all the "good conduct" awards: Rifleman, Sharpshooter, campaign ribbons...sure took this guy long enough to find his true calling...what a waste of Army discipline and training.
What about the guy in the right side of the photo somewhat in the background -- is he clapping? I might clap myself.