Judge Bars England's

Statements About Abuse

FORT HOOD, Tex. -- A military judge ruled Friday that Pfc. Lynndie England's statements to Army investigators about her actions at the Abu Ghraib prison cannot be used as evidence at her trial.

The judge, Col. James J. Pohl, said in a pretrial hearing that he thinks England did not fully understand the consequences when she waived her rights against self-incrimination before speaking to the investigators in January 2004.

Pohl did not elaborate on his ruling, which came after testimony from expert witnesses who said that England tends to try to please people in authority and that she has trouble understanding complex language. Pohl said prosecutors may present evidence to get one of the two statements readmitted.

The statements were important components of the prosecution's case against England, who is charged with abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib, near Baghdad, in 2003.

Capt. Cullen Sheppard, a prosecution spokesman, said prosecutors have other evidence in the case, including television interviews in which England recounted her actions at the prison.

England, 22, a reservist from West Virginia, is charged with conspiracy, maltreating detainees and committing an indecent act. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison.

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-- From News Services