US Army general won’t testify in Abu Ghraib dog handler case

US Army general won’t testify in Abu Ghraib dog handler case

[JURIST] Lawyers for Army Sgt. Michael Smith, currently facing court-martial for allegedly torturing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] with unmuzzled dogs [JURIST report], have withdrawn a request for testimony from prison commander Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller [Wikipedia profile]. Miller's testimony was expected to help Smith's case, based upon findings in the 2004 Fay Jones report [PDF text; Frontline summary] and other investigations, that the use of dogs to abuse detainees began upon the arrivals of the animals on November 20, 2003 and that Miller "recommended dogs as beneficial for detainee custody and control issues." Miller had previously invoked his constitutional right to remain silent [AFP report] but Smith's attorneys have offered no explanation of their somewhat unusual decision not to press for his testimony.

Originally scheduled to begin March 8, the trial date was pushed back [JURIST report] to May 22 to allow more time for defense preparation. If convicted, Smith faces up to 29 1/2 years in prison. AP has more.