The two highest-ranking soldiers charged in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse case have been ordered to face courts-martial, a military official announced yesterday.
Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II and Sgt. Javal S. Davis are the second and third soldiers from the 372nd Military Police Company ordered to stand the military's version of a trial, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt told reporters in Baghdad. Dates for their courts-martial have not yet been set.
On Sunday, the military announced that Spec. Jeremy Sivits, 24, of Hyndman, Pa., had been ordered to stand trial May 19. Sivits will face a special court-martial, a proceeding similar to a misdemeanor trial where defendants face a maximum prison sentence of one year.
Davis and Frederick, however, are scheduled for general courts-martial, where sentences can be much more severe.
Frederick, 37, of Buckingham, Va., faces charges of conspiracy to maltreat subordinates, dereliction of duty for negligently failing to protect detainees from abuse, maltreatment of detainees, assault and wrongfully committing an indecent act by watching detainees commit a sexual act, Kimmitt said.
Frederick is accused of being among soldiers who forced a prisoner to stand on top of a box and told him that if he fell he would be electrocuted by wires that had been attached to his hands, according to the charging documents quoted by the Associated Press. A picture of the prisoner is one of many that have appeared in newspapers and broadcasts worldwide.
"I think when all the facts come out it will be shown that he has committed no atrocities against the Iraqi people, and if anything he was trying to get them treated humanely," Frederick's uncle, Bill Lawson, said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Davis, 26, of Nottingham, Md., is charged with conspiracy to maltreat subordinates, dereliction of duty for negligently failing to protect detainees from abuse, maltreatment of detainees, rendering false official statements and assault. The charging documents accuse Davis of forcing prisoners into a pile and then jumping on them, according to AP.
Davis's attorney, Paul Bergrin of Newark, said his client is also innocent.
"Anything that he did was ordered by intelligence agents, acquiesced by superiors and passively permitted by all who had knowledge," Bergrin said.
The four other members of the Cresaptown, Md.-based 372nd charged in the case are Spec. Sabrina Harman, Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr., Spec. Megan M. Ambuhl and Pfc. Lynndie R. England.
None has yet been ordered to face a court-martial. The investigating officer who oversaw Ambuhl's preliminary hearing has recommended that two of the charges against her -- maltreatment and indecent acts with another -- be dropped, according to his report.