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Abu Ghraib dog handler found guilty of abuse

Written by: Staff
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WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) A US Army dog handler was found guilty today of abusing detainees at Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib prison and faces up to eight years and nine months in prison, an Army spokeswoman said.

The sentencing hearing for Army Sgt. Michael Smith, 24, was set to begin later today, Lt. Col. Shawn Jirik said.

Smith was charged with using his dog to harass and threaten inmates at Abu Ghraib in order to make them urinate and defecate on themselves in 2003 and 2004.

His lawyers said he was unfairly lumped in with others on the night shift who physically abused detainees or allowed their dogs to bite them, and was acting at the request of interrogators and prison authorities.

Disturbing photos of dogs barking and growling at inmates were seen around the world in the abuse scandal, which cut into Washington's efforts to win support for its war in Iraq.

REUTERS SY PC2225

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