Prison guard Specialist Jeremy Sivits, who took photos of abuse at the Abu Ghraib detention center in Iraq, described soldiers laughing and joking as they beat, stripped, and sexually humiliated detainees, newspapers1 reported.
Sivits, the first US Army soldier scheduled to be court-martialed in the abuse scandal, was expected to plead guilty Wednesday in Baghdad. He has cooperated with prosecutors and faces lesser charges than his colleagues.
He said the mistreatment was not authorized by higher-ups in the chain of command. "Our command would have slammed us," he said. "They believe in doing the right thing. If they saw what was going on, there would have been hell to pay."
Sivits's statements are the most in-depth descriptions of the abuse by a defendant to have been made public. Lawyers for the soldiers that Sivits named said his statements were "fabricated" and questionable because of his plea deal.
According to statements Sivits made to military investigators, a prisoner handcuffed to a bed with bullet wounds in his legs screamed "Mister, mister, please stop," as Military Police Corporal Charles A. Graner struck him with a police baton. "I was laughing at some of the stuff that they had them do," Sivits told investigators in January. "I was disgusted at some of the stuff as well."
The Army filed criminal charges against Graner, including adultery, maltreatment of detainees, dereliction of duty, committing indecent acts, and obstruction of justice, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said yesterday.
Transcripts of Sivits's statements were provided to The
Ambuhl was the only soldier whom Sivits did not accuse of wrongdoing in the statements.
Sivits said his superiors were unaware of the abuse, which he said came to light after another guard tipped authorities in January.
The other guards facing charges have said they acted on orders from superiors or from military intelligence, and all six have declared their innocence.
Guy Womack, a lawyer for Graner, said Sivits's statement was of questionable value because he appeared to have agreed to a plea bargain with authorities.
Sivits described Graner as one of the ringleaders. The former Pennsylvania prison guard was joking, laughing, and "acting like he was enjoying it," Sivits said.
He said Graner once punched a detainee in the head so hard the man fell unconscious.
Sergeant Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II forced naked detainees to masturbate and seemed to enjoy watching the prisoners beaten, Sivits said.
Sivits said Sergeant Javal Davis threw himself on a pile of prisoners and "then stomped on either the fingers or toes of the detainees," as they screamed in pain.
Paul Bergrin, a Newark, N.J., lawyer representing Davis, said Sivits's statement was "fabricated" and "self-serving."
"This is in order to cover up for his own misdeeds and mischievous behavior," he told the Post.