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Last Updated: Friday, 28 April 2006, 23:50 GMT 00:50 UK
US charges ex-Abu Ghraib officer
Abu Ghraib prison
Images of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison were first seen in 2004
The US military has charged the former head of the interrogation centre at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison over the abuse of Iraqi detainees.

Lt-Col Steven Jordan has been charged with seven offences including maltreatment of prisoners.

He is the highest ranking officer to face criminal charges over events at the prison.

Ten lower-ranking soldiers have already been convicted for abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib from 2003 to 2004.

Two officers more senior than Lt-Col Jordan have been disciplined by the army over the scandal, but neither faced criminal charges.

The BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington says the new development could throw some light on how the situation actually arose.

Failure to supervise

Lt-Col Jordan was in charge of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Centre at the prison during the second half of 2003.

The charges
Cruelty and maltreatment (1 count)
Dereliction of duty (3 counts)
Making false official statements (2 counts)
Making a false statement (1 count)
Fraud (2 counts)
Wrongful interference with an investigation (1 count
Disobeying a superior officer (2 counts)

A document released by the military detailed 12 counts relating to the seven separate charges.

It says Lt-Col Jordan maltreated prisoners by subjecting them "to forced nudity and intimidation by military working dogs".

It also accuses him of dereliction of duty in failing to train and supervise soldiers to meet military requirements on interrogation, which "resulted in the abuse of Iraqi detainees".

Other charges include wrongful interference with an investigation and making false official statements to investigators probing the abuse allegations.

A preliminary hearing will be held when Lt-Col Jordan's defence team have had time to prepare, but no date has been set yet, the US military said.

Picture from SBS TV in Australia showing dog and Abu Ghraib prisoner
Images of abuses at Abu Ghraib shocked the world

The issue of Abu Ghraib came to light in April 2004 after images emerged of US troops abusing prisoners. The footage included naked prisoners placed in humiliating positions and detainees cowering from aggressive dogs.

The BBC's Jonathan Beale says while human rights groups have welcomed the decision to prosecute a senior officer, they see this as just a first step.

There is still anger that no-one in the administration has taken responsibility for the abuses, our correspondent says.




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