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Witnesses: Officer focused on troops' well-being



Published: Thu, October 19, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The officer didn't participate in the interrogations.

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) -- An Army Reserve officer accused of ignoring abuses of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison spent most of his time improving living conditions for troops and did not appear to be in charge of interrogations, defense witnesses testified Wednesday.

"He mentioned something to the effect he wasn't exactly sure what his job was. He was a little uncertain of what his role was or who he worked for," said Staff Sgt. Jeff Day, who was an interrogator.

Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, director of the prison's interrogation center, neither participated in nor gave instructions about interrogations, Day testified on the third day of the officer's Article 32 investigation, the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing.

The hearing is to determine whether Jordan, the highest-ranking soldier charged in the scandal, should be court-martialed for any of the 12 charges he faces. He could face up to 42 years in prison if convicted.

A former military police commander testified earlier in the day that Jordan was a daily visitor to the "hard site," where some detainees were stripped naked as an interrogation technique.

Capt. Donald Reese's testimony supported government allegations that Jordan knew about the abuse and lied about it.

His location

Reese was commander of the 372nd Military Police Company, which guarded the hard site at Abu Ghraib in the autumn of 2003, when most of the abuses documented in photographs seen around the world occurred.

Prosecutor Lt. Col. Jon Pavlovcak asked him Wednesday how often he had seen Jordan inside the hard site, a building that housed prisoners held for interrogation.

"Every day, sir," Reese replied.

Reese testified that he couldn't remember whether Jordan had ever told him directly why some prisoners were naked. But Reese acknowledged having told Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba during Taguba's 2004 investigation of the Abu Ghraib scandal that he had had a conversation with Jordan about it.

Reese testified Wednesday that he remembered being told, although not necessarily by Jordan, that some prisoners were naked because of lack of clothing, refusal to wear clothes and for disciplinary reasons.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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