Abu Ghraib Officer Faces Court-Martial

Associated Press
Saturday, January 27, 2007

HAGERSTOWN, Md., Jan. 26 -- The only U.S. military officer charged with a crime in the Abu Ghraib scandal will be court-martialed on eight charges, including cruelty and maltreatment of prisoners, the Army said Friday.

Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, a 50-year-old reservist from Virginia who ran the interrogation center at the Iraqi prison, was accused of failing to exert his authority as the place descended into chaos, with prisoners stripped naked, photographed in humiliating poses and intimidated by snarling dogs. He was also charged with lying to investigators.

Jordan has not been accused of personally torturing or humiliating prisoners and was not pictured in any of the photos that embarrassed the Pentagon and shocked the world.

Maj. Gen. Guy C. Swann, commander of the Military District of Washington, decided that Jordan must stand trial, said Col. Jim Yonts, an Army spokesman.

Jordan was charged in April with 12 offenses. Swann dismissed four charges after Jordan was given an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a civilian preliminary hearing, in October.

Besides cruelty and maltreatment, the charges include disobeying a superior officer, willful dereliction of duty and making false statements. The charges carry a total maximum prison term of 22 years.

Jordan's military lawyers did not immediately return phone calls.

At his October hearing, Jordan said he had no operational control over interrogations and spent much of his time trying to improve the deplorable living conditions of soldiers.

The government alleges that Jordan's actions or inaction subjected detainees to forced nudity and intimidation by dogs. He also is accused of lying to investigators in denying that he saw any abuse.

Eleven other U.S. soldiers -- all from the enlisted ranks -- have been convicted in the Abu Ghraib scandal, with former Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr. receiving the harshest sentence, a 10-year prison term. A general and other officers have received reprimands or demotions that ended or blighted their careers.

Since he was charged in April, Jordan has been on active duty with the Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Belvoir, Va.

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