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Former Abu Ghurayb Detainees To Testify


8 January 2005 -- Three former Iraqi detainees are expected to testify in the U.S. military court-martial of the accused leader of the Abu Ghurayb prison abuse scandal.

The names of the three, who are expected to testify by videotape, were on a list of witnesses presented yesterday as Specialist Charles Graner's trial got under way at the U.S. Fort Hood army base in Texas.

Graner's defense lawyer, Guy Womack, told reporters that Graner was following the orders of superiors and that he and other soldiers were being made scapegoats for the Abu Ghurayb abuse.

"Our defense is that Specialist Graner was following orders," Womack said. "And that's a defense in two different ways. First of all, if he is following lawful orders it's an absolute defense to all of the charges on that charge sheet. It's also a defense if he was following unlawful orders, but did not know that they were unlawful."

Graner, who appears in some of the most notorious photographs that emerged last year of abuse at Abu Ghurayb, has pleaded not guilty to assault and conspiracy to mistreat detainees and other charges. He faces more than 17 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

(AFP/AP)
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