Lynndie England gets 3 years in Abu Ghraib abuse case

Army Pfc. Lynndie England, who said she only tried to please her boyfriend when she took part in detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, was sentenced late Tuesday to three years behind bars.

England's sentencing wrapped up the last of nine courts-martial of low-level soldiers charged in the scandal, which severely damaged America's image in the Muslim world and tarnished the U.S. military at home and abroad.

The jury of five Army officers needed about 90 minutes to determine their sentence for England, the 22-year-old from West Virginia who was the most recognizable of the reservists charged after photos of naked detainee in degrading poses became public.

The charges carried up to nine years, but the prosecution had asked the jury to imprison England for four to six years. The defense asked for no time.

England, who was convicted Monday on six of seven counts involving prisoner mistreatment, sat with her eyes forward as the verdict was read, occasionally looking down.

England apologized earlier Tuesday for appearing in the photos, saying she did so at the behest of Pvt. Charles Graner Jr., who she said took advantage of her love and trust while they were deployed in Iraq.

She was in several of the best-known photos taken by U.S. guards at Abu Ghraib in late 2003. In one image she held a naked prisoner on a leash, while in others she posed with a pyramid of naked detainees and pointed at one man's genitals while a cigarette hung from the corner of her mouth.

England, speaking in response to questions from a defense lawyer, said she was embarrassed by the photos and apologized to the detainees and their families, as well as to American soldiers who may have suffered in Iraq for her actions.

England's defense contended she is a compliant person who took part in the maltreatment to please Graner, who prosecutors said was the ringleader of the abuse by a group of U.S. troops.

Graner and another former guard were also convicted at trial, while six other soldiers struck plea bargains. Graner was sentenced to 10 years.

No officers have gone to trial, though several received administrative punishment.

Graner testified that he, England and others who worked the overnight shift in a high-security section of Abu Ghraib had scant supervision.

Graner said he told officers about detainee maltreatment, which he claimed was done by order of military intelligence personnel. And at times, he said, military intelligence officers actually were present for the abuse, the AP reports.

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