Abu Ghraib scandal: Ivan Frederick pleaded guilty

United States Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick was sentenced to eight years in prison on Thursday for sexually and physically abusing detainees at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.

Judge Colonel James Pohl also sentenced Frederick to a reduction in rank to private, to forfeit pay and a dishonourable discharge from the army, reports Independent Online.

According to the Turkish Press, Frederick, the highest-ranking official to be tried so far in the prison abuse case, had pleaded guilty to a range of five charges from making hooded inmates masturbate to punching them in the chest.

James Pohl also demoted the 38-year-old before the discharge and docked his pay, although an original sentence of 10 years was reduced due to a plea bargain.

Frederick was the first of three military police due to be court martialled in Baghdad this week for their alleged part in abuse at Abu Ghraib.

The scandal came to light when pictures showing grinning US soldiers posing by a heap of naked Iraqi men and other abuses at the prison sparked worldwide outrage earlier this year.

Frederick, who sat impassively through the two-day court martial at a U.S. base in Baghdad, appeared shaken and looked at the floor on Thursday after judge Colonel James Pohl announced his verdict, which included a dishonourable discharge and a demotion.

Defence counsel Gary Myers said the sentence was excessive and he would appeal.

The church-going father of two, who was a prison guard in civilian life, admitted helping tie wires to the fingers and penis of one prisoner and telling him he could be electrocuted, and forcing three hooded detainees to masturbate.

In one of the most notorious of abuses committed last year and to which the charges were related, naked, hooded prisoners were also made to form a human pyramid while other military police posed for photographs with them.

Two psychologists who testified for the defence described Frederick as an introvert who depended heavily on others and had a strong desire to please, which they said helped explain why he did not discipline his colleagues for abusing prisoners, informs Reuters.

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