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Abu Ghraib disciplinary actions set

Associated Press | May 6, 2005

WASHINGTON — The Army said Thursday that only one senior officer will be disciplined for failed leadership in connection with the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.

More than a dozen lower-ranking officers will face a variety of punishments.

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The Army said it demoted Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, whose Army Reserve unit was in charge of the prison compound when Iraqi detainees were physically abused and sexually humiliated by military police and intelligence soldiers in the fall of 2003. When photos of some of the abuse became public a year ago, a firestorm of criticism erupted worldwide.

The Army also announced that it cleared three other, more senior generals of wrongdoing in the prisoner abuse cases, actions that had been previously reported but not publicly confirmed.

That means that Karpinski is the only general to be disciplined thus far. The demotion means her career in the military, where officers must rise in rank or leave, is effectively over. Messages left at her home in Hilton Head, S.C., and with her attorney were not immediately returned.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has said it intends to hold hearings soon to assess whether senior Defense Department civilian and military leaders were adequately held accountable for Abu Ghraib.

Among those cleared by the Army was Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who was the top Army general in Iraq at the time of the prisoner abuses. He has been faulted for leadership failures but has never been accused of ordering or sanctioning abuse of prisoners.

Sanchez is currently the commander of 5th Corps, with headquarters at Heidelberg, Germany.

Karpinski was demoted to colonel, which required approval by President Bush. She also received a written reprimand by Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody and was relieved of command of the 800th Military Police Brigade, the Army said in a statement.

 

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