Prison abuse hearing begins

A pre-trial hearing over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal began in Baghdad today.

A pre-trial hearing over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal began in Baghdad today.

The hearing is being held in the heavily-guarded Green Zone headquarters of the US occupation authority, the official said.

A lawyer for an US soldier charged with abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib has argued that the judge should dismiss the case today when three defendants returned to court for the hearing.

The three are Spc Charles Graner, 35, of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Staff Sgt Ivan “Chip” Frederick, 37, of Buckingham, Virginia and Sgt Javal Davis, 26, of Maryland, the officer said.

Paul Bergrin, a lawyer for Davis, said last week that he would ask the judge, Col James Pohl, to dismiss charges against his client because of “improper command influence” extending all the way to President George Bush.

A hearing for a fourth soldier, Army Pfc Lynndie England, 21, will be held separately on June 22 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where she is now stationed.

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