- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 21, 2004

BAGHDAD — The highest-ranking soldier charged with abusing inmates in the Abu Ghraib prison was sentenced to eight years in prison at a court martial in Baghdad yesterday.

Staff Sgt. Ivan “Chip” Frederick, 38, an Army reservist from Buckingham, Va., also was given a reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay and a dishonorable discharge. The sentencing came a day after he pleaded guilty to eight counts of abusing and humiliating Iraqi detainees.

It was the longest prison sentence to date in connection with the scandal that broke worldwide in April with the publication of photos and video footage that showed U.S. soldiers abusing naked Iraqis in the prison on the western outskirts of Baghdad.

Frederick — a military police officer who is a corrections officer in civilian life — acknowledged his part in the scandal, admitting that he hooked up wires on the hands of a detainee who was told he would be electrocuted if he fell off a box and that he forced prisoners to masturbate.

But Frederick also blamed his chain of command, telling the court Wednesday that military intelligence officers ordered prisoners to be publicly stripped and degraded.

He testified that he was given no training or support in supervising detainees and only learned of regulations against mistreatment after the abuses occurred between October and December last year. He said that when he brought up issues with his commanders, “they told me to do what MI told me to do,” referring to military intelligence.

Defense counsel Gary Myers yesterday called the sentence “excessive” and said he would seek a reduction.

“Punish him, yes. But please try to understand the defense’s point of view that there is corporate responsibility,” Mr. Myers said. “We discovered that he has no abhorrent tendencies.”

Army prosecutor Maj. Michael Holley told the court it was a simple case of right and wrong.

“He’s an adult and capable of telling, as we learned, the difference between right and wrong. How much training do you need to learn that it’s wrong to force a man to masturbate?” he said.

“I was wrong about what I did and I shouldn’t have done it,” Frederick told the judge, Army Col. James Pohl. “I knew it was wrong at the time because I knew it was a form of abuse.”

He pleaded guilty to eight counts of conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault and committing an indecent act.

Frederick is one of seven members of the Cresaptown, Md.-based 372nd Military Police Company charged in the scandal. One, Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits of Hyndman, Pa., is serving a one-year sentence after pleading guilty in May to three counts.

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