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U.S. Generals To Be Questioned In Iraqi Prison Abuse Trial

21 June 2004 -- The presiding U.S. military judge in the Abu Ghurayb prison abuse trial accepted a motion from defense lawyers to question top U.S. military and prison commanders.

A hearing for three of the U.S. soldiers accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners in the prison opened on 21 June.

Judge James Pohl allowed a request from the defense to question the head of U.S. forces in Iraq, General Richard Sanchez, the commander for the region, General John Abizaid, and others.

Attorneys for the defense argued that Sanchez, Abizaid and others were part of a chain of command that made the abuse possible.

Pohl also ruled that the Abu Ghurayb prison was a crime scene and ordered the site be protected. Several Iraqi officials and U.S. President George W. Bush have suggested the prison could be destroyed.