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US Army Officer on Trial for Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal

A U.S. military court in Fort Meade, Maryland has heard opening arguments in the court martial of the only U.S. military officer charged in connection with the abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan entered a plea of not guilty Monday to charges of mistreatment of detainees and disobeying a superior officer. Two more serious charges were dismissed by the military judge because of technicalities.

A jury of nine Army colonels and one brigadier general promised the court it will not use the case against Jordan as a judgment on the Abu Ghraib scandal as a whole.

Colonel Jordan, who was in charge of interrogation at the prison, is the only officer to be court-martialed in the case. Eleven enlisted men and women were convicted, receiving sentences of up to 10 years in prison.

A more senior officer who admitted approving the use of dogs during interrogation was given a reprimand and a fine.

The scandal, triggered by the publication of photos of inmates being abused by smiling guards, was a major embarrassment for the United States in Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.