Cumberland Times-News

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March 25, 2007

England back in Mineral County

Army reservist, notorious face of Abu Ghraib scandal, out of prison

KEYSER, W.Va. — Spc. Lynndie R. England, the U.S. Army reservist who became one of the most recognizable and notorious faces of the Iraq war after photos of her and naked Iraqi prisoners were leaked to the international media in 2003, is out of prison and back home in Mineral County.

England, a 2001 graduate of Frankfort High School who joined the 372nd Military Police Company of Cresaptown in order to earn money for her education, was convicted of conspiracy, maltreating Iraqi detainees and committing an indecent act on Sept. 26, 2005, and sentenced to three years in military prison as a result of the scandal at Abu Ghraib Prison near Baghdad.

Friday, England family attorney Roy T. Hardy of Keyser confirmed England had been paroled March 1 after serving approximately half of her sentence at a military prison located near San Diego.

“She said she was in there exactly 521 days,” Hardy said. “Generally, everyone serves approximately half their sentence before they can be considered for parole.”

March 1 was England’s first opportunity to be considered for release.

England, who joined the Army Reserve when she was still a junior at Frankfort High School, first caught the attention of a shocked world when photos were released of her posing with naked detainees, smiling and giving the “thumbs up” sign while pointing to the Iraqis’ genitalia.

Throughout the investigation and court-martial proceedings, she maintained that she posed in the photos only at the direction of her superiors.

Her defense also claimed that, at 20, she was especially influenced by a fellow soldier, Spc. Charles Graner, 35, with whom she fell in love and who later became the father of her child.

Members of England’s family, who held a press conference at the Fountain Fire Hall when news of the scandal broke, also maintained England’s role was one of compliance.

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