Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Catch up on courts-martial

Heads up, to all of you reading stories about the Abu Ghraib prison abuse today. There are conflicting facts in some stories.

Spc. (not Spec.) Jeremy Sivits pleaded guilty on all four counts against him at a special court-martial. The counts:
* Two counts of conspiracy to maltreat subordinates or detainees.
* Dereliction of duty for willfully failing to protect detainees from abuse, cruelty and maltreatment.
* Maltreatment of detainees, or forcing a prisoner "to be positioned in a pile on the floor to be assaulted by other soldiers," a military briefer said.
AP calls for court-martial, court-martialed and courts-martial.

Sivits received the maximum detention the judge could impose under his plea agreement (which allowed him to face a special court-martial rather than a general court-martial) of one year. His rank was reduced to private and he received a bad-conduct discharge. He could also have lost two-thirds of his pay. In exchange, Sivits agreed to testify against the six others charged with abuse:
Sgt. Javal S. Davis
Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick
Spc. Charles A. Graner Jr.
Spc. Megan M. Ambuhl
Pfc. Lynndie R. England
Spc. Sabrina Harman
Although all six have been charged, only the first three have been ordered to face a general court-martial, although all six are expected to.

General courts-martial handle more serious crimes and can issue tougher sentences.

Slate has a great Explainer on courts-martial, which tells how they work, the rights of the accused and the difference between a general and a special court-martial.


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