England found guilty of Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison abuse

Lynndie R. England, a 22-year-old US reservist whose smirking photographs came to personify the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, was convicted Monday of joining in the abuse when she posed next to detainees who had been stripped and put into humiliating poses.

After deliberating for just over two hours, the jury, made up of five male Army officers, found Private England guilty of six out of seven counts of conspiracy and maltreatment of Iraqi prisoners.

The jury acquitted her of a single conspiracy charge related to the leash photograph.

Standing at attention in her Army dress uniform, Private England remained stoic as the verdict was read, as she has throughout the five-day trial. She could be sentenced to nine years in military prison; the trial's sentencing phase begins Tuesday.

Faced with the evidence in the photographs, her defense lawyers never sought to deny that Private England had participated in the mistreatment. After the verdict, her lawyer, Capt. Jonathan Crisp, sounded unsurprised at the conviction.

Asked for comment after the verdict, defense lawyer Capt. Jonathan Crisp said, “The only reaction I can say is, ‘I understand.”’

England’s trial is the last for a group of nine Army reservists charged with mistreating prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, a scandal that badly damaged the United States’ image in the Muslim world despite quick condemnation of the abuse by President Bush. Two other troops were convicted in trials and the remaining six made plea deals. Several of those soldiers testified at England’s trial.

Prosecutors used graphic photos of England to support their contention that she was a key figure in the abuse conspiracy. One photo shows England holding a naked detainee on a leash. In others, she smiles and points to prisoners in humiliating poses, informs MSNBC.

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