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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 March, 2004, 23:13 GMT
US troops face Iraq abuse charges
Hooded Iraqi prisoners
The coalition is holding at least 10,000 prisoners in Iraq
Six US soldiers in Iraq have been charged over alleged abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

The military police officers have been charged by the US Army with crimes ranging from assault and maltreatment to indecent acts against prisoners.

The alleged crimes involve less than 20 prisoners and happened around November and December, said an army spokesman.

The six MPs are among 17 soldiers suspended last month pending an inquiry into the alleged abuses.

"That is the kind of cancer you have got the cut out quickly," said Brigadier General Mark Kimmit.

Each of the six have been charged separately.

The charges include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty, maltreatment, assault and indecent acts with another.

Military hearing

They are due to face an Article 32 hearing - the military equivalent of a grand jury inquiry - which will decide whether the military should prosecute them.

It was unclear how long such a trial would take.

Brig Gen Kimmit said the 11 others - which include some of the suspects' commanders - had been investigated on supervisory issues.

He said the inquiry was complete, but the results not yet released.

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