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Soldier who awaits court-martial aiding in probe

Arraignment set for fourth former MP at Abu Ghraib prison


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Spc. Jeremy Sivits faces a court-martial next week.
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(CNN) -- A U.S. soldier awaiting court-martial in connection with the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal is cooperating with investigators and described harsh actions by members of his unit, according to a statement obtained by CNN.

Spc. Jeremy Sivits faces a special court-martial -- the military equivalent of a civilian misdemeanor court -- on Wednesday.

In his statement, Sivits told investigators that Spc. Charles Graner forced the prisoners to disrobe, mocked them and "punched [a] detainee with a closed fist so hard in the temple that it knocked the detainee unconscious."

"He was joking, laughing," Sivits said, according to the statement. "Like he was enjoying it."

Graner will be arraigned in a court-martial proceeding Thursday, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said.

Graner was charged with conspiracy to maltreat prisoners; dereliction of duty for allowing prisoners to be maltreated; cruelty and maltreatment; maltreatment of prisoners; assault of prisoners; committing indecent acts; adultery; and obstruction of justice, Kimmitt told reporters in Baghdad.

Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick and Sgt. Javal Davis face arraignment in general courts-martial -- military courts that handle felony-level offenses -- on Thursday. (Full story)

The four men are members of the 372nd Military Police Company. Three other soldiers have also been charged in connection with prisoner abuses.

Attorney: Sivits deflecting blame

Houston, Texas, attorney Guy Womack, representing Graner, told CNN that "anyone would try to deflect blame rather than accept responsibility for what he's doing," referring to Sivits' allegations about his client.

Graner contends that he was ordered by civilian and military intelligence to participate in the activities in question, and that one of the photographs that came to light this month is proof.

The picture, Womack said, is taken from above, with the photographer looking down on a pile of at least three or four naked Iraqi prisoners who are shackled together in contorted positions.

Standing beside the pile is Graner, with his hands on his hips, and a man Womack said his client identified as a civilian contract employee dressed in military fatigues. Womack said partial views of four military intelligence agents can also be seen in the photograph.

"The photo we presented is proof of what we've been saying because it shows military intelligence and civilian intelligence where this activity is taking place," Womack said.

Paul Bergrin, attorney for Davis, said his client was ordered to do what he did, but denied Davis "committed any criminal acts."

"He went to his chain of command. He questioned some of the interrogation techniques, and he was told as a soldier he was to follow orders and that intelligence wants additional information," Bergrin said on CNN's "American Morning." (Senators question interrogation techniques)

Davis' superiors, Bergrin said, told him it was important to "break the prisoners" in order to "save the lives of innocent soldiers on the outside and civilians and individuals like Nicholas Berg."

Berg was the Pennsylvania businessman whose beheading was posted on a Web page this week. The Abu Ghraib abuses depicted in the photographs took place last fall.

His client, Bergrin said, committed "certain acts but didn't commit any criminal acts."

Bergrin denied statements attributed to Sivits accusing Davis of stomping on the fingers of prisoners and jumping on top of a pile of naked prisoners.

Davis' father, Jonathan Davis, described his son as "a good soldier ... directed to do a job, and that's exactly what he did."

"I think it's just a ploy or whatever have you to put it all on the smaller guys," the elder Davis said. "As I play chess, they are just pawns. There are bigger people behind this."

Bergrin described the conditions under which military police worked at Abu Ghraib as "the most deplorable, inhuman conditions any soldier had to experience" with 14-to-18 hour days, seven days a week.

"He's been there for 13 months, and he's kept this schedule up," Bergrin said. "There's no chaplains to talk to, nobody to go to for guidance, leadership."

Bergrin also described the detainees as "the most horrendous, dangerous, despicable human beings."

CNN's Susan Candiotti and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.


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