Abu Ghraib trial judgecriticises government

23rd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

23 August 2004 , MANNHEIM - The first day of pretrial hearings, held in the German city of Mannheim, for four US soldiers accused in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal was recessed Monday with the military judge rejecting a venue change for one of the accused. Colonel James L. Pohl called it "premature" for the court to make a decision so early in the process involving Specialist Charles Graner. The defence for Graner had argued that due to the huge publicity surrounding the case, it would be prejudicia

23 August 2004

MANNHEIM - The first day of pretrial hearings, held in the German city of Mannheim, for four US soldiers accused in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal was recessed Monday with the military judge rejecting a venue change for one of the accused.

Colonel James L. Pohl called it "premature" for the court to make a decision so early in the process involving Specialist Charles Graner.

The defence for Graner had argued that due to the huge publicity surrounding the case, it would be prejudicial to their client if the army were to hold full court martial proceedings.

"I believe your motion is premature," Pohl told the defence, while at the same time expressing his exasperation at the government for the slow pace of providing other evidence in the case.

Pohl set a new hearing date for 21 October in Baghdad at which point the prosecution was to show the progress made in getting evidence - chiefly transcripts of witness testimony made available to defence and prosecution from a number of other government investigations.

Among others, he cited the army's own Criminal Investigation Department (CID) as well as an investigation by Major General George Fay.

Graner was the first of four US soldiers whose cases were being reviewed in Mannheim. The others include Specialist Megan Ambuhl, Sergeant Javal Davis and Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick.

At the time the scandal broke, Graner's rank was corporal. Since then, it has been changed to specialist, a non-combat rank.

They are among seven accused in the Abu Ghraib case who face a variety of charges including conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty and maltreatment, and indecent acts.

The hearings were moved from Baghdad to Mannheim at request of the defence, which cited both security and cost considerations.

In contrast to the lurid details of the scandal - the photographs of the sexual and physical humiliation of the Iraqi prisoners - Monday's hearings were spent in detailed legal wrangling over procedural questions involving how evidence was obtained from the accused.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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