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U.S. Army Reservist Sentenced to Eight Years for Prison Abuse

BY Admin  October 21, 2004 at 4:30 AM EDT

Judge Colonel James Pohl also sentenced Frederick to a dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank to private and a forfeiture of pay.

Frederick’s lawyer Gary Myers said the sentence was excessive and that he plans on appealing the decision.

“We will seek to try to achieve a sentence reduction,” Myers said, according to the Washington Post.

The Abu Ghraib prison scandal erupted after photographs exposing the abuses were published in April.

Frederick, the highest ranked officer involved in the scandal, agreed to a plea bargain in which he pleaded guilty to eight of 12 criminal counts and, in return, the court reduced his sentence from 10 to eight years.

The charges included hitting a detainee in the chest so hard that he had to be resuscitated and forcing detainees to masturbate. Frederick also pleaded guilty to attaching wires to a man forced to stand on a box and telling the detainee he would be electrocuted if he stepped off the box.

Frederick, 38, acknowledged that his behavior had been excessive.

“I was wrong about what I did, and I shouldn’t have done it,” Frederick said, according to the Washington Post. “I knew it was wrong at the time because I knew it was a form of abuse.

Frederick, who also works as a civilian prison guard, told the court that military intelligence and civilian interrogators created an atmosphere that spawned the abuses. They “would tell us what conditions to set for them — keep their clothes, give them cigarettes,” he said.

He also described a prison in which detainees were sometimes forced to dress in women’s underwear and endure physical and mental abuse.

The news of the plea came as Britain agreed to a U.S. request to re-deploy its forces in Iraq to aid with security efforts. British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon announced Thursday that the government would send 850 British soldiers to a more unstable area west of Baghdad to replace American troops.

“The government has decided that we should accept the U.S. request for assistance,” Hoon told the Parliament Thursday. “This deployment is a vital part of the process of creating the right conditions for the Iraqi elections to take place in January.”

Many British lawmakers strongly oppose the decision that will allow the replaced U.S. soldiers to begin an attack on Iraqi insurgents near Fallujah.

Hoon stressed no new British troops would be brought into Iraq and the deployment would be short-lived.

The 850 soldiers, including medics, signalers and engineers, will be deployed for a “limited and specific period time, lasting weeks rather than months,” Hoon said.

The troops will go to the “Multinational Force West,” where Sunni insurgents have been attacking U.S. troops and Iraqis on a daily basis.

The announcement follows an Oct. 10 request from the United States to send a British unit located in southern Iraq to the U.S.-controlled north.

Britain currently has about 8,500 troops deployed in Iraq, but they are located in the relatively calm, southern area of Basra. Sending the soldiers into the north will increase the risk of casualties, the AP reported.

Sixty-eight British soldiers have died in Iraq, in a war that is widely opposed by British citizens.