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Gary Younge
Abu Ghraib woman soldier brokers plea deal

Ms England, 22, was photographed dragging a naked Iraqi detainee around the floor by a leash and giving a thumbs up and a grin over a pile of naked detainees. The resultant furore over the use of torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay sparked both congressional hearings and Pentagon investigations.

In sworn statements Ms England said her fellow soldiers had taken pictures of the pyramid of naked prisoners because "it looked funny" and had placed the leash on the detainee in order to get him to confess to raping an Iraqi boy.

She had been facing a jail sentence of more than 160 years on nine counts of conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment and indecent acts. But her defence presented evidence that Ms England, who has given birth to a son since the scandal broke, has a history of mental health problems and learning disabilities and was heavily influenced by another soldier, Charles Graner, the father of her child. Mr Graner was sentenced to 10 years in prison and dismissed from the military in January.

Ms England, a records clerk from West Virginia, had no training as a prison guard when she was sent to Iraq's most notorious prison.

More than 130 soldiers have been punished for abusing prisoners since the scandal broke last year, and six other soldiers were charged alongside Ms England and Mr Graner. They had claimed they were following orders but four have now pleaded guilty in return for reduced punishments.

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