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Abu Ghraib chief of interrogations to face military charges

[JURIST] Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, who was in charge of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center [backgrounder] at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] in 2003, will face charges in connection to the prison abuse scandal, a lawyer for Jordan said Tuesday. The lawyer, Samuel Spitzberg, said he had been informed that the US Army plans to charge Jordan with dereliction of duty, lying to investigators and conduct unbecoming an officer, but an Army spokesman said Tuesday that there has not been a final decision on the allegations against Jordan. Jordan, who was trained as a civil affairs officer and put in charge of the Abu Ghraib interrogation center when it was formed in September 2003, admitted to Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba [Times profile], who investigated the Abu Ghraib abuses, that he was a poor choice to oversee interrogations [NYT report]. The Taguba report [PDF text] recommended that Jordan be relieved from duty and reprimanded for "failing to ensure that Soldiers under his direct control knew, understood, and followed the protections afforded to detainees in the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War" and "failing to properly supervise soldiers under his direct authority." In addition, the August 2004 Fay report [PDF text; JURIST report] recommended that Jordan and Col. Thomas Pappas [Wikipedia profile], Jordan's superior, be punished for their role in the abuse scandal. It was disclosed in January that Army investigators had recommended [LA Times report] Jordan be charged.

If charged, Jordan will be the highest-ranking Army officer to face criminal charges as a result of the abuse scandal. Several lower-ranking officers have been convicted in connection with the abuse investigation, but superior officers have so far only received other punishments, including reprimands, fines and being relieved of command. US Army Reserve Colonel Janis Karpinski, the former US commander of Abu Ghraib, was relieved of her command and demoted for dereliction of duty [JURIST reports] in 2005. The New York Times has more.

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