Soldier Sentenced to One-Year Confinement for Abu Ghraib Actions

News Release
Headquarters United States Central Command
May 19, 2004

Baghdad, Iraq -- Statement by Colonel Jill Morganthaler, Multi-National Force-Iraq Public Affairs Officer:

"Today, on May 19, 2004, Specialist Jeremy Sivits pleaded guilty to the following charges: one count conspiracy to maltreat detainees, one count of dereliction and two counts of maltreatment of detainees. The Military Judge found Specialist Sivits guilty of the charges in accordance with his pleas and sentenced him to reduction to Private E-1, a Bad Conduct Discharge and one year of confinement.

Specialist Sivits will be transferred to a temporary military confinement facility for a short period of time. He will then be transferred to one of the military regional confinement facilities. Specialist Sivits remains eligible in future trials to be called as a witness by either the prosecution or the defense.

Charges against Specialist Sivits were filed on March 20, 2004, following an investigation by the Criminal Investigation Division. This investigation began on January 14, 2004, after a fellow soldier brought the matter to the attention of the Criminal Investigation Division.

Specialist Sivits' plea of guilty to the offenses charged was part of a pre-trial agreement with the Convening Authority, Lieutenant General Thomas Metz, Commanding General, Multi-National Corps Iraq and III Corps (U.S.), who ordered the court-martial. In exchange for Specialist Sivits' plea of guilty, Lieutenant General Metz committed that he would order the case be tried as a Special Court-Martial. As part of the pre-trial agreement, Specialist Sivits agreed to testify truthfully, if called as a witness, in other cases.

Once a transcript of the proceedings is prepared and reviewed by the Military Judge for accuracy, Specialist Sivits' case will be forwarded to Lieutenant General Metz, Commanding General, Multi-National Corps Iraq and III Corps (U.S.), who ordered the court-martial. Lieutenant General Metz can approve the sentence adjudged, reduce the sentence, and even dismiss some or all of the charges. Lieutenant General Metz cannot, however, increase the sentence of the court.

Following this review and action by Lieutenant General Metz, because the approved sentence includes a bad conduct discharge, the case will be forwarded to Washington, D.C., for mandatory review by the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals (which consists of senior military appellate judges) and the right to later petition the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces is the highest military appellate court, and consists of five civilian judges appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Only the United States Supreme Court can review a case decided by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

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