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Abuse Ringleader Gets 10 years
By Omar Sinan
Associated Press
January 17, 2005

BAGHDAD -- News that a US Army reservist had been sentenced to 10 years behind bars for physically and sexually abusing Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison drew scorn yesterday from Iraqis who thought he should have been tried in Baghdad and punished with death.

Iraq's interim government issued no official reaction, but several Iraqi residents interviewed in Baghdad said the trial and its outcome brought no justice. They said it bore a humiliation as potent as the shame when pictures of the abuse emerged in April.

Abdul-Razak Abdul-Fattah, 65, a retired Iraqi Army officer, said he was shocked to see TV footage of Army Specialist Charles A. Graner Jr. leaving court smiling and laughing although his legs and hands were shackled.

"It showed on his face that he did not regret the shameful acts that he and his colleagues committed," he said. "Perhaps Americans think that those things, I mean showing people naked, is normal and not shameful."

Images of reservists abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib provoked widespread outrage throughout the Arab world in particular, where communities can shun people who have suffered such deeply personal and public disgrace.

Graner, 36, thought to be the ringleader of the abuse, was accused of stacking naked prisoners in a human pyramid and later ordering them to masturbate as other soldiers took photographs. He also allegedly punched a man in the head hard enough to knock him out and struck an injured prisoner with a metal stick.

Graner was sentenced Saturday to 10 years in military prison in the first court-martial in the scandal. He could have received 15.

Asked whether he felt remorse after the sentence was handed down, Graner said: "There's a war on. Bad things happen."

Graner will be dishonorably discharged when his sentence is completed.

Hussein Mohammed, 22, a student, said the humiliation of the prisoners lingers, nine months after the scandal erupted.

"Even though the Iraqi community knows that those abused people were forced to do so, the community will continue to look down on them," Mohammed said.

A shopkeeper in downtown Baghdad said Graner and his cohorts should be executed in Iraq in front of those they abused.

"That person brought ignominy to those Iraqis," Mohammed Ahmed, 24, said. "As Arabs, we prefer to die with honor rather than live with such disgrace."

A teacher in the northern city of Kirkuk said that the abuse at the prison recalled the crimes committed by Saddam Hussein's regime.

"When Saddam created the mass graves, we thought that it was a savage thing," Sardar Mohammed, 38, said. "But when we saw the Americans and what they have done at Abu Ghraib, I was astonished because America came here carrying slogans of freedom and democracy."

© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.

Note how this story continues to lie to us. It says he "allegedly" hit an Iraqi. He's guilty and the time for allegations is over. It's ok for the folks at the Globe and the AP to stop lying to us.