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U.S. Soldier Faces Court Martial in Iraqi Prisoner Abuse Case

Washington -- The United States Army has announced it will hold a court martial proceeding against an American soldier charged with abusing Iraqi detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

U.S. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said May 9 that a 24-year old military policeman, Jeremy Sivits, would go on trial May 19.

Kimmitt, chief spokesman for the U.S. military command in Baghdad, said Sivits faces three charges: conspiracy to maltreat detainees; dereliction of duty for negligently failing to protect detainees from abuse, cruelty and maltreatment; and maltreatment of detainees.

Kimmitt indicated that the court martial would be held in Baghdad, subject to final approval.

President Bush said in his weekly radio address to the American people May 8 that the United States is conducting several investigations into the humiliation and abuse of prisoners in Iraq, and that those involved will be identified and face justice.

The abuse of prisoners does "not reflect our values," Bush said. The incidents "are a stain on our country's honor and reputation."

Bush said U.S. military authorities would thoroughly review all prison operations in Iraq "to make certain similar disgraceful incidents are never repeated."

"Americans believe in the worth and rights and dignity of every person," the president said.

During an interview with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram May 6, Bush also said that the images of inhumane acts against Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military personnel were abhorrent, and he offered a direct apology to the prisoners and their families for the humiliation they experienced.

Americans reject such treatment of people, Bush said. He promised that not only would there be a full investigation, but that judicial proceedings against the accused would be fully transparent to the world.

"I am sorry for the humiliation suffered by those (Iraqi) individuals," the president said. "It makes me sick to my stomach to see that happen."

In another matter involving Iraq, Paul Bremer, administrator of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in that country, congratulated the Iraqi Minister of Water, Abdul Latif, for his ministry's advance on the road to sovereignty. The transfer is part of the return of control over Iraq's ministries to the Iraqi people.

Bremer said in a May 9 CPA press release that Latif and his staff "have laid the foundation to more efficiently manage the water system within Iraq that will optimize the use of this valuable resource to provide more water for irrigation, power generation, and to efficiently route future flood waters."

The CPA said that the Ministry of Water Resources has made important progress in the rebuilding of Iraq's water resources system. The CPA added that it will continue to work with its Iraqi partners to bring about a fundamental change in how Iraqi government ministries operate and serve their people.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:


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