US soldier involved in Abu Ghraib abuse sentenced to three years in prison
Pfc. Lynndie R. England was sentenced on Tuesday to three year in prison and dishonorably discharged from the US army after being convicted for prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison.
The 22-year-old reservist was convicted by a military court in Fort Hood, Texas of six counts against her, mainly for posing in incriminating photographs with prisoners.
Nine other soldiers were also convicted in the case, including one soldier who received a ten-year sentence for leading other soldiers in the scandal.
England apologized for what she had done and said that she had participated in the abuse because her lover had encouraged her to, according to Reuters. She added that her 11-month-old son had changed her life and it would be hard for her to part from him for such a long period.
Defense attorneys argued that England was merely a victim of a broader US policy of prisoner abuse of which she had been made a scapegoat. Another US soldier told reporters that command failures and unclear guidelines result in the punishment of low-ranking soldiers despite responsibility of top commanders in the US military for such incidents.
"One of the things that infuriates me is that the leaders are not accepting responsibility" the soldier told reporters. However US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made a statement at a news briefing on Tuesday that all allegations of abuse were taken seriously.