&to=http:// english.pravda.ru/cis/2002/03/29/27250.html ' target=_blank>US Army Specialist Charles Graner has been sentenced to 10 years jail, five years less than the maximum sentence possible, and a dishonourable discharge for beating and sexually abusing prisoners at the US-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The sentencing came a day after a 10-person jury found Graner guilty on 10 counts related to the abuses, many of which were documented in photographs that included naked prisoners stacked into a pyramid and being forced to masturbate.
The &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/397/13888_Iraqi.html ' target=_blank>abuse and torture scandal caused worldwide outrage and tarnished the reputation of US troops in Iraq, reports ABC News.
A few hours before the jury delivered its sentence at the court-martial, the soldier expressed remorse for the first time. "I did what I did. A lot of it was wrong, a lot of it was criminal," he told the 10 jurors. "I did not enjoy it," he said. While the prosecution portrayed him as a "depraved" thug who beat and humiliated detainees for sport, Graner insisted he was merely following orders to "soften up" prisoners for interrogation.
"We were not treating the prisoners the way we were supposed to, so I complained," he said at the Fort Hood army base in Texas, wrote the Turkish Press.
According to the Age, Graner's mother, Irma Graner, testifying in the sentencing phase, described him as a kind and gentle man who faithfully served his country.
"He is not the monster he's made out to be," she said quietly. "In my eyes he'll always be a hero."
The shocking photos of reservists abusing and sexuallyhumiliating prisoners were first broadcast on CBS's 60 Minutes II in April.