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Conviction of Abu Ghraib officer thrown out

[JURIST] The conviction of US Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan [CBS profile; JURIST news archive], the only commissioned officer charged in connection to the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal [JURIST news archive], has been annulled, his lawyer said Thursday. As convening authority in the case, Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe on Tuesday "disapproved" Jordan's August 2007 conviction [JURIST report] by a military jury on charges that he disobeyed an order not to discuss the investigation into abuse allegations at Abu Ghraib; the same jury acquitted Jordan of charges that he failed to control soldiers under his command who abused detainees. The military jury followed the prosecution's recommendation of a reprimand [JURIST report] and found that Jordan should not be sentenced to prison. Under the military courts-martial system [CRS backgrounder, PDF] the convening authority reviews the jury's actions and has the option of modifying the jury's findings. AP has more.

Prosecutors initially charged [JURIST report] Jordan with seven violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice [text] but dropped two charges [JURIST report] after new evidence came to light that Jordan provided statements to an official investigating the Iraqi prison abuse allegations without being properly read his rights, making his statements inadmissible. In his 2004 report [PDF text; JURIST report], Maj. Gen. George R. Fay recommended that Jordan and his superior Col. Thomas Pappas be punished for their roles in the abuse scandal. Pappas was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony against Jordan. Pappas testified during Jordan's Article 32 hearing [JURIST report] that Jordan was concerned that he did not have the proper training or experience to assume his role running the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] at Abu Ghraib.

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