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Gen Karpinski suspended for Abu Ghraib abuses

May 25, 2004 10:26 IST

The United States army has suspended Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of the Abu Ghraib prison when the abuse of Iraqi prisoners took place. 

Karpiniski has been suspended from her current command of the 800th Military Police Brigade.

Army investigators have found that Karpinski and four other officers in her brigade paid little attention to the day-to-day operations of the prison.

The investigators also found that Karpinski did not act strongly enough to discipline soldiers under her command for violating standard procedures.

Karpinski's suspension is the latest in a series of actions against officers and enlisted soldiers implicated in the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

In an interview on MSNBC last night, Karpinski said she has been told of her suspension by 'several sources, but I have nothing in writing'.

Last week, Spc Jeremy Sivits received the maximum penalty of a year in prison and a bad-conduct discharge in the first court-martial stemming from the abuse of Iraqis at the prison. He was among seven members of the 372nd Military Police Company that have been charged.

Karpinski's suspension, however, does not mean that she has been relieved of command. Technically, then, she could be reinstated.

Karpinski has said she was being treated unfairly for the acts of others over which she had no control.

The investigation into the Abu Ghraib abuse is headed by Major General Antonio Taguba.

"What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony was her complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce standards and principles among its soldiers," Taguba wrote.

In her defence, Karpinski has said in numerous interviews with news organisations that her military superiors and civilian leaders ignored her requests for more troops to watch prisoners. She also has said that control of the prison was taken away from her in November 2003 when a military intelligence unit was put in charge.

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