US officer charged in Abu Ghraib abuse pleads not guilty

The only US military officer accused in the prisoner abuse scandal at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib jail pleaded not guilty on Monday at the start of his court martial here.

US officer charged in Abu Ghraib abuse pleads not guilty
Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan, 51, faces four charges stemming from the affair including obstructing justice and dereliction of duty.

Jordan was officially responsible for the interrogation center at the Baghdad prison of Abu Ghraib.

The jail gained international notoriety in 2004 when photographs of Iraqi prisoners, naked and chained like dogs in front of grinning US troops, were published and circulated around the world.

Jordan's court martial at the Fort Meade military base in Maryland, just north of Washington, opened Monday afternoon and is due to last two weeks.

During the jury selection, Jordan's lawyer Captain Samuel Spitzberg asked potential jurors if they could acknowledge that tribunal was "not a referendum on Abu Ghraib."

"Do you believe there is a difference between wrong and illegal," he asked them. The jury is to be composed of between five to 15 and drawn from 19 officers, all of whom have a higher rank than Jordan.

AFP
Last Mod: 21 Ağustos 2007, 22:14
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