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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 January, 2005, 22:56 GMT
Iraq prisoner abuse 'encouraged'
Spc Graner arrives for his court-martial at Fort Hood army base in Texas
Spc Graner denies all the charges against him
An ex-US military policewoman has told a court martial she was asked by intelligence officers at Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail to mock naked detainees.

Megan Ambuhl also told the trial of alleged abuse ringleader Specialist Charles Graner that interrogators asked military police to rough up prisoners.

Defence lawyers have argued that Spc Graner was forced to act on orders from above in the prisoner abuse scandal.

Spc Graner has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.

Ambuhl admitted she was close to Spc Graner and did not want him jailed.

Under cross-examination, she said she had had a brief sexual relationship with him and they remained good friends.

Ambuhl, who pleaded guilty last year to dereliction of duty in the scandal and was dismissed from the army, told the court that interrogators had routinely asked them to break down detainees.

"They would come down with their detainees and let us know what they wanted us to do with them," she said. "They might say this guy is co-operating, not co-operating."

'Good job'

She said female soldiers were asked "fairly often" by intelligence officers to ridicule naked detainees.

"They wanted me to be in the shower, point to the detainees' genitals and laugh," she said, speaking on the fifth day of the trial at Fort Hood army base in Texas.

A group of bound Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, Iraq in this undated photo. (AP Photo/Courtesy of The New Yorker)
Pte Jeremy Sivits
Sgt Ivan Frederick
Spc Megan Ambuhl
Spc Armin Cruz
Facing trial:
Spc Charles Graner
Pte Lynndie England
Sgt Javal Davies
Spc Sabrina Harman

She also recalled a civilian interrogator telling military police officers to "break" a prisoner they called al-Qaeda, because of his suspected involvement with the network.

The interrogator "told us we were doing a good job and that breaking al-Qaeda [the prisoner] would have a global impact and save a lot of lives," she said.

She recalled two interrogators had encouraged Spc Graner and another soldier to rough up a detainee, but admitted they had been lower in rank than Spc Graner.

The defence rested their case on Thursday without Spc Graner, 36, testifying.

He has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including maltreating prisoners by administering beatings, stacking inmates in a pyramid shape and attaching detainees to a leash.

If convicted on all counts, Spc Graner faces up to 17-and-a-half years in prison.

The jury is due to begin deliberating on Friday.

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