US Army reservist Lynndie England, the woman pictured holding a naked Iraqi on a leash at Abu Ghraib prison, pleaded guilty to abusing prisoners today and said what she did was morally wrong.
"I knew it was wrong because who would morally do something like that in a US prison," England told a military court after admitting guilt in seven out of nine charges.
"I had a choice, but I did what my friends wanted me to do."
Photographs of Private England, 22, with humiliated Iraqis touched off worldwide furore at a time when the United States was under pressure over the 2003 Iraq invasion. She could face a maximum sentence of 11 years.
Her plea deal contained a government agreement to seek a far lesser sentence, although both defence and prosecution declined to give details.
A military jury will be chosen to consider the punishment tomorrow.
England, a low-ranking clerk, said she reluctantly appeared in the photos at the urging of her then boyfriend, Charles Graner, whose child she later bore, and a second soldier.
In a series of pictures, taken in late 2003 but which appeared a year ago, she posed with a naked detainee on a leash, standing behind a pile of naked prisoners and pointing at the genitals of a male prisoner while smiling and smoking a cigarette.
"They asked me to point at his genitals. I refused at first and said 'no way', but they were being very insistent," she said of Graner and Ivan Frederick, who are both in prison over their role in the scandal.
"They were being very persistent and bugging me. I was like, whatever, I'll stand in the picture."
Asked about Graner's motivation in piling up the detainees, she said: "It was more or less for or his amusement."
Asked by the military judge, Col. James Pohl, about the circumstances surrounding the picture of her holding a prisoner on a leash, the diminutive England said: "(Graner) handed me the leash and said hold this, I'm going to take a picture".
"He wanted it to look more ... humiliating if a female of my size would hold it," she said.
"I assumed it was OK because he was an MP (military policeman). He had the background as a corrections officer and with him being older than me I thought he knew what he was doing."
Before accepting the plea, Pohl called a break, expressing concern that England had not known that what she was doing was wrong at the time, but when the hearing resumed she said she knew this after Graner produced a camera.
"You don't wrap a leash around somebody's neck and tell them to crawl; I mean that's wrong," she said.
"I knew it was not only morally wrong; I know it was legally wrong."
Graner, a former prison guard, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a military tribunal in January for his part in the abuse. He was expected to testify this week in England's sentencing hearing.
England was the seventh guard at the prison outside Baghdad to plead guilty to abusing prisoners.
The Pentagon has cleared all but one of the top five commanders at Abu Ghraib of any wrongdoing, despite accusations by human rights groups that a drive to squeeze information out of detainees initiated at a high level created the atmosphere in which the abuses could occur.
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03-May-2005 07:51 PM"When you perceive hardness in your heart, weakness in your body, and paucity in your sustenance - then know that you have spoken about that which does not concern you!" - Malik Bin Dinar
04-May-2005 10:32 AM
I really really hate her!!! i hope she is humiliated in jail and treated like rubbish."No doubt the muslim woman is the most refined example of womanhood ever known in any human society."
05-May-2005 02:47 PM
Subhan Allah I wonder how people can be so cruel and do such low things and get away with it easily by just blaming another person for their actions. InshaAllah I hope that she gets wht she deserves!"When you perceive hardness in your heart, weakness in your body, and paucity in your sustenance - then know that you have spoken about that which does not concern you!" - Malik Bin Dinar
05-May-2005 05:02 PM
- Join Date
- Sep 2003
I heard today that the judge declared her trial a mis-trial. But I haven't heard any more than that. Why?
05-May-2005 06:11 PM
Because she said that she knew what she did was wrong and her boyfirend said that she didn't know that it was wrong so he let her off... What a stupid joke."No doubt the muslim woman is the most refined example of womanhood ever known in any human society."
05-May-2005 06:29 PM
- Join Date
- Sep 2003
It was just a mis-trial, doesn't that mean she will have to be re-tried?
05-May-2005 08:36 PM
I think it means that she will be let off.."No doubt the muslim woman is the most refined example of womanhood ever known in any human society."
05-May-2005 08:44 PM
I heard over the radio that the judge has thrown out her original guilty plea, because he is not convinced that she believed what she was doing was wrong. So I'm assuming a new trial will be convened and she will be forced to enter a not-guilty plea. I'm sure press articles would explain this much better (and correctly), but I'm too lazy to look ATM. Sorry.
05-May-2005 08:56 PM
lol ooppss.... i always thought it meant that the case was thrown out and that she would be let off.. sowwy
07-May-2005 07:47 PM
Here's an article summarising the England trial situation. Notice that the mistrial can actually be considered a good thing, since her plea-bargaining deal with the army (where she would exchange a guilty plea for a reduced sentence) is now quashed. Insha'Allah she will now be subject to the full sentencing term in her new trial.