Hearings Underway in Abu Ghraib Prisoner Abuse Trials

Pre-trial hearings have begun in Iraq for three soldiers charged with abusing prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. The three soldiers involved are Sgt. Javal S. Davis, Spc. Charles A. Graner Jr. and Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II. At least one of the soldiers will argue the commands came from high above:

Paul Bergrin, a civilian lawyer for Davis, said last week in the United States that he would argue for a dismissal of charges because of "improper command influence" extending all the way to President Bush.

Charles Graner's trial promises to be the most interesting:

Graner, of Uniontown, Pa., has been accused of jumping on several detainees as they were piled on the floor. He is also charged with stomping the hands and bare feet of several prisoners and punching one inmate in the temple so hard that he lost consciousness. He also faces adultery charges for having sex with [PFC Lynndie] England last October. He could receive 24 1/2 years in jail, forfeiture of pay, reduction in rank, and a dishonorable discharge.

England's hearing begins Tuesday in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Update: The Judge has agreed to allow the prisoners to interview top Generals --specifically, Central Command chief John Abizaid and top Iraq commander Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez.

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