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Soldier arraigned in Abu Ghraib abuse case


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Megan Ambuhl
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Army Spec. Megan Ambuhl was arraigned Thursday on charges related to prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to the Coalition Press Information Center.

The charges include maltreatment of subordinates, dereliction of duties and committing indecent acts with detainees.

Her attorney "deferred entering a plea or forum choice which is choosing to be tried by a jury or solely by a judge or panel of judges," CPIC said in a Friday news release.

Also, the attorney "requested an expert on the psychological impact of working in a prison environment."

A military judge ruled that a decision on the request must be made by Wednesday.

Ambuhl, 29, of Centreville, Virginia, is among seven soldiers who have faced legal action in the prison abuse scandal.

Outrage over the abuse went worldwide after photos were released showing Iraqi prisoners who were posed naked, piled in human pyramids or held on a leash.

Last May, attorney Harvey Volzer said of Ambuhl, "My client has not been seen, nor will she be seen, in any of the photographs that have been released or will be released."

Pfc. Lynndie England, 21, was featured in the photographs, smiling and holding the leash attached to one prisoner.

An Article 32 hearing, the military's equivalent to a civilian grand jury proceeding, has begun for England, who is nearly seven months pregnant. The hearing will determine whether she should face a court-martial on a series of possible charges that could send her to prison for up to 38 years.

Last week, her attorneys asked the hearing officer for permission to call a number of high-ranking officers who have had some role in oversight or investigation of Abu Ghraib.

The requested witnesses include Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of U.S. troops during the war, and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and now overseer of all prisons in Iraq.

England has been transferred back to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, because she is pregnant by her boyfriend, former Abu Ghraib guard Spc. Charles Graner, who also is charged in connection with the abuses.

Graner awaits court-martial in Iraq along with four other guards.

All seven facing abuse charges are members of the 372nd Military Police Company, a unit of reservists based near Cumberland, Maryland.

Pvt. Jeremy Sivits of Hyndman, Pennsylvania, is the only one of those charged to plead guilty. Sivits is serving a one-year sentence in military prison.


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