US soldier details Iraq abuse, to plead quilty
Updated: 2004-05-14 10:17
US guards at the Abu Ghraib prison stripped Iraqi
prisoners naked, mocked, struck and kicked them and then "in the crudest of
humiliations, forced them to hit each other," the LA Times reported on its Web
site on Thursday.
The paper said that Specialist Jeremy Sivits, the first
soldier to be put up for court-martial, has told investigators "a harrowing
tale" of how guards led by a corporal, Charles Graner, abused the detainees
during nightly rounds.
The Times said, in documents it has obtained, Sivits claimed Graner was
always "joking, laughing ... acting like he was enjoying it."
Sivits, one of seven military police officers facing charges in the case,will
plead guilty at a court-martial proceeding next week, the Washington Post
reported on Friday.
Sivits, 24, of Hyndman, PA., admitted in a sworn statement that he
photographed the abuse but never reported it, according to the newspaper.
His offer to plead guilty was accepted by the staff judge advocate overseeing
his court-martial, according to a memo reviewed by The Washington Post and
lawyers representing others charged in the case, the newspaper said. But the
paper said it could not be determined to which charge he would plead
The Times also reported that Sivits' statement implicates
of the other six soldiers accused of abusing detainees at the prison outside
According to the Times, Sivits said all of the abuse was
without the knowledge of their superiors in the Army chain of command. "Our
command would have slammed us," he said, according to documents quoted by the
"They believe in doing the right thing. If they saw what
going on, there would be hell to pay." He said Graner
warned him not to say
anything, telling him: "You did not see (this)."
Houston lawyer Guy Womack, was not
immediately available for comment but has
said, according to the Times, that Graner and other soldiers were under pressure
by military interrogators to "soften up" the detainees to get
According to the Times, Sivits said the soldiers
to be enjoying abusing the prisoners.
Sivits described how
inmates were forced to strip and form a human pyramid and how U.S. soldiers
jumped on them when they were handcuffed and piled on the floor. He also said
Graner hit one man so hard that he fell unconscious and that other soldiers
forced naked detainees to masturbate.