Abu Ghraib abuser England gets 3 years in jail but remains patriotic

Lynndie England's face became known worldwide after the publication of notorious Abu Ghraib photos

Lynndie England, the US soldier who was pictured holding a leash tied to a naked Iraqi inmate at Abu Ghraib prison, has been sentenced to three years in prison and given a dishonourable discharge, Reuters reports. Lynndie, who became infamous when Abu Ghraib photos of the diminutive soldier were broadcast across the globe, broke down in tears in court here after her sentence was announced.

Lynndie was found guilty Monday of one count of conspiracy to maltreat prisoners, four counts of maltreatment and one count of committing an indecent act. A visibly shocked England bowed her head as her mother, Terri, walked over to her and consoled her with a hug after the verdict.

Lynndie England appeared in several photographs published around the world of prisoners in degrading poses. In one image, the 22-year-old soldier held a naked prisoner on a leash, while in others she posed with a pyramid of naked detainees and pointed at the genitals of a prisoner.

In sentencing testimony just hours before, Private England apologised for her actions and said she remained an American patriot. "After the photos were released, I've heard that attacks were made on US armed forces because of them," she said. "I apologise to coalition forces and all the families," Private England told the jury of five officers, also apologising to "detainees, the families, America and all the soldiers."

She said she posed for the photos at the behest of Private Charles Graner Jr, the boyfriend who she said took advantage of her love and trust while they were deployed in Iraq. "I was used by Private Graner," she said. "I didn't realise it at the time."

Private Graner is serving a 10-year sentence for abuses at the prison.

As the jury began its deliberations on the punishment on Tuesday evening, England telephoned her mother to ask her to return to the courthouse with the baby for what could be their last time together should she be sent to prison.

England's testimony and appearance by the baby was a clear last effort to humanise a woman whose face is known worldwide but who has said little in public. Her lawyer, Capt. Jonathan Crisp, asked the jury to remember the baby and not sentence England to prison, Reuters says.

Source: agencies

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Author`s name Olga Savka