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Last Updated: Friday, 2 June 2006, 01:21 GMT 02:21 UK
Abu Ghraib dog handler convicted
Sgt Santos Cardona at a pre-trial hearing in Washington
Cardona could face up to three-and-a-half-years in jail
A US Army dog handler has been convicted of abusing a prisoner with his dog at Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail.

Sgt Santos Cardona, 32, was found guilty on two of nine charges of abuse and dereliction of duty at the prison, near Baghdad, in 2003 and 2004.

Cardona now faces up to three-and-a-half years in jail.

The military policeman is the 11th American soldier to be convicted in connection with abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib jail.

'Biggest mistake'

As well as his jail term, Cardona could also be discharged from the army or have his rank reduced.

Picture from SBS TV in Australia, showing dog and Abu Ghraib prisoner
Images of the Abu Ghraib abuse were shown around the world

A US military jury cleared Cardona of seven other charges of at a trial at Fort Meade in Maryland, in a court martial which began on Tuesday.

President George W Bush last week called the incident the biggest mistake of America's war in Iraq.

The prosecution had described Cardona as one of a group of "corrupt cops" who tormented Iraqi prisoners for fun.

But the defence argued the accused was only obeying orders from senior officers.

The conviction follows the March jailing of US army dog handler Sgt Michael Smith, who received six months for abusing detainees in Abu Ghraib from 2003 to 2004.

The Abu Ghraib scandal came to light in 2004, after photographs showing the abuse and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners were leaked to the US press.

Some had shown unmuzzled dogs threatening naked prisoners.

No senior officers have so far been convicted for the abuse at the prison.

Cardona's verdict comes as the US investigates the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians last November at Haditha. US marines are suspected of carrying out a massacre.


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