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Abu Ghraib scandal

A military hearing for the U.S. soldier at the center of the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal resumes Monday, to decide whether she should face a court-martial. The hearings for Private First Class Lynndie England were temporarily halted earlier this month to allow the presiding judge to consider a defense request to call dozens of new witnesses. It is unclear how many, if any, new witnesses will be allowed. The hearings were the first time Ms. England had appeared in court to defend herself against charges of abusing detainees at Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison. She gained international notoriety when pictures of her emerged posing in front of naked detainees, including one photo where she is seen holding a leash tied to the neck of a naked inmate, publishes VOANews. According to Telegraph, Lynndie England, the US army reservist accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad, participated willingly in creating a "human pyramid" of naked detainees, a fellow soldier already convicted in the scandal said yesterday. Pte Jeremy Sivits told a hearing in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, that, while helping escort a detainee into the prison in December 2003, he heard a sergeant order England and another soldier, Sgt Javal Davis, to stop "stomping on the fingers and toes" of a prisoner. After the sergeant left, Pte Sivits said, he saw soldiers stack seven naked detainees, whose heads were covered with bags, into a human pyramid and photograph them. The pictures included shots of England, 21, smiling, pointing at a detainee's genitals and posing behind the pyramid. Sivits said England was "having a good time". A convicted US soldier on Monday testified to a special military hearing here that he saw other American troops abusing Iraqi inmates detained at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad late last year. Private Jeremy Sivits, who has been sentenced to one year of confinement for his role in the abuses, told the military court here by telephone from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, that he specifically witnessed Army Private Lynndie England, 21, stomping on the fingers and toes of Iraqi prisoners. A photograph showing England holding a leash attached to the neck of a naked inmate sparked a public relations disaster for the Pentagon after that picture and many others depicting mistreatment inside Abu Ghraib were broadcast around the world earlier this year. Sivits is the first witness at England’s hearing to say he specifically saw the now pregnant private meting out abuse. “They were stomping on the fingers and toes of detainees,” Sivits said, referring to England and a fellow soldier from the 372nd Military Police Company, whom he named as Sergeant Javal Davis. “PFC (Private First Class) England was making comments about the size of their penises,” Sivits told the hearing as England sat impassively in court, listening to his testimony, reports Daily Times.

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