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Army Clerk is Convicted For Acts Of Maltreatment at Iraqi Prison

By David S. Cloud
THE NEW YORK TIMES


FORT HOOD, TEXAS

Pfc. Lynndie R. England, a 22-year-old Army file clerk whose smirking photographs came to personify the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, was convicted Monday of joining in the abuse when she posed next to detainees who had been stripped and put into humiliating poses.

After deliberating for slightly more than two hours, the jury, made up of five male Army officers, found England guilty of six out of seven counts of conspiracy and maltreatment of Iraqi prisoners, including an episode when she was photographed holding a strap tied as a leash around a naked detainee’s neck.

The jury acquitted her of a single conspiracy charge related to the leash photograph.

Standing at attention in her Army dress uniform, England remained stoic as the verdict was read, as she has throughout the five-day trial. She could be sentenced to nine years in military prison; the trial’s sentencing phase begins Tuesday.

Faced with the evidence in the photographs, her defense lawyers never sought to deny that England had participated in the mistreatment. After the verdict, her lawyer, Capt. Jonathan Crisp, sounded unsurprised at the conviction.

“I guess the only reaction I can say is, I understand,” he said in brief comments to reporters.

Although appeals are possible, the conviction closes the main chapter in the Army’s prosecution of nine reservists who were charged with mistreating prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Two others, including England’s former boyfriend, Pvt. Charles A. Graner Jr., who held the rank of specialist at Abu Ghraib, were convicted in trials, and the remaining six reached plea deals.

England, who is from West Virginia, had sought to plead guilty to the charges in May, in exchange for a reduced sentence.