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Military Court-Martial of U.S. Soldier Begins in Abu Ghraib Case

Washington -- The military court-martial of Army Reserve Specialist Jeremy Sivits is scheduled to open May 19 in Baghdad, and other Army Reservists are expected to face hearings in the Iraqi prisoner abuse case at Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad, says Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt.

"The first thing that we're going to do tomorrow is hold a trial by court-martial against Jeremy Sivits," Kimmitt said at a regular coalition media briefing May 18 in Baghdad. "He's been charged with a number of criminal activities, and he will be judged in front of a court-martial. We would hope that by making it open to the public, by making it open to the press, that the press would take advantage of this situation, not only to see American justice in action, but to record it and tell their readers about their observations."

Kimmitt, who is the deputy director for coalition military operations, said the goal is to show the world American justice. He added that Sivits could be found guilty or be found innocent of the charges. Sivits is charged with two counts of maltreatment, one of conspiracy to maltreat and one of dereliction of duty. He also is accused of taking pictures of some of the Iraqi detainees. He will face a special court martial, and the court will determine his punishment if he is found guilty.

"One thing I would say, though, is I would hope that everybody understands that tomorrow is just the first of six trials that we expect to have inside of Iraq in the case of the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib," Kimmitt said.

Kimmitt added that there will be a prisoner release from Abu Ghraib on May 21 and 471 prisoners will be released.

On questions regarding what happens in Iraq after June 30, Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) senior adviser Dan Senor said the CPA will wind down and leave by the end of June.

"In the case of the United States, we are deploying $18.6 billion here on the reconstruction of Iraq," he said. "And while we've started to deploy some of those funds in some areas, like electrical infrastructure for instance, oil reconstruction, oil infrastructure reconstruction, that will take several years to get it up to where we want it to be. And, therefore, we will be deploying some of those funds over several years and there will be civilian staff here that continue to work."

However, Senor said that when CPA Administrator Paul Bremer leaves Baghdad, the Iraqi interim government takes over. The United States will continue to work through its new embassy and the largest U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in the world will be in Iraq, he said.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:


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